Monday, July 15, 2013

Another "Surprise" Inspection

At approximately 5pm (MSK) on July 12, President Putin directed defense minister Sergey Shoygu to order a surprise inspection of the Eastern Military District to begin at 1am (MSK) the next day. In fact, the inspection will involve forces in both the Eastern and Central Military Districts, as well as Long Range Aviation and Military Transport Aviation assets. The numbers of personnel and equipment to be involved in the exercise (as of July 14) include:

  • 160,000+ personnel
  • 1,000+ tanks and armored vehicles
  • 130+ fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters
  • 70+ combatant ships and auxiliary vessels
The aircraft mentioned to date (as of July 14) include:
  • IL-20 Coot A
  • IL-38 May
  • IL-76 Candid
  • SU-27SM Flanker
  • TU-95MS Bear H
  • TU-142 Bear F
The ships and auxiliary vessels mentioned to date (as of July 15) include:
  • Alligator LST Nikolay Vilkov
  • Dubna AO Irkut
  • Finik AGS GS-397
  • Goryn ARS SB-522
  • Grisha V FFL Metel
  • Grisha V FFL MPK-221
  • Grisha V Ust-Ilimsk
  • Nanuchka III PGG Iney
  • Nanuchka III PGG Razliv
  • Ob AH Irtysh
  • Ropucha I LST Oslyabya
  • Slava CG Varyag
  • Sonya MSC BT-215
  • Sonya MSC BT-245
  • Sorum ATA MB-99
  • Sovremennyj DDG Bystryy
  • Tarantul III PGG R-11
  • Tarantul III PGG R-14
  • Tarantul III PGG R-18
  • Tarantul III PGG R-19
  • Tarantul III PGG R-20
  • Tarantul III PGG R-79
  • Udaloj I DD Admiral Vinogradov
  • Udaloj I DD Marshal Shaposhnikov
  • Yug AGOR Vitse-Admiral Vorontsov
Part of the RF Navy's Pacific Fleet surface fleet is currently tasked with shuttling weapons in the Mediterranean Sea. As a result, the following units are not available to participate in the exercise:
  • Baklazhan ARS Fotiy Krylov
  • Dubna AO Pechenga
  • Ropucha I LST Admiral Nevelskoy
  • Ropucha II LST Peresvet
  • Udaloy I DD Admiral Panteleyev
Was this really a surprise? How could it be when the Russian ships were spotted near the La Perouse Strait on July 13. And when Khabarovsk residents noticed armored vehicles being loaded onto trains two days before the announcement? Of note, the PRC Navy ships that had departed Vladivostok on July 12 after participating in the joint China-Russia exercise Naval Cooperation-2013 followed the Russians through the La Perouse Strait. Very odd... It will be interesting to see what role, if any, the PRC Navy ships played in this exercise scenario.

I almost forgot to mention two IL-20 Coot A intelligence aircraft flights on July 12 and July 14. Further indication (to me, at least) that this was no "surprise" inspection.