Amid predictions that 2016 could bring World War 3, Russia seems to be pushing the already tense relations with the West to the limit. With plans to carry out over 4,000 military drills in 2016, Russia intends to expand deployment of its advanced non-nuclear cruise missiles to launch attacks at land and sea.
According to Bloomberg citing analysts at the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence, Russia’s efforts under its large-scale naval modernization include plans to install the Russian navy’s new Kalibr-class missiles even on vessels such as corvettes, or small warships.
U.S. analysts noted that such efforts are “profoundly changing” Russia’s navy “ability to deter, threaten or destroy adversary targets,” adding that “with the use of the land attack missile, all platforms have a significant ability to hold distant fixed ground targets at risk using conventional warheads.”
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The Kalibr class of non-nuclear cruise missiles is Russia’s “most capable domestic version of weapons” that it has exported over the past decade, according to the report. Russia’s new naval models include sea-launched, land-attack models that have been used in Syria from Russia’s submerged submarines, according to ITAR-TASS.
Russia deploys advanced cruise missiles
The 68-page report by the intelligence office also said Russia’s ongoing development of anti-ship missiles “with improved design features” such as supersonic speed and evasive maneuvers, “will present continuing challenges to U.S. and allied naval forces.”
The new Kalibr-class missiles have the range of up to 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles) and present the upgraded version of the supersonic anti-ship, sea-skimming cruise missile known as the Sizzler. According to the Pentagon’s annual report, China’s current submarines are equipped with the Sizzler.
The intelligence office outlines trends in the Russian navy and the threats that worry U.S. military experts the most. Moreover, it gives a general idea of the Russian navy’s equipment modernization and personnel development.
“Placing a priority on strategic deterrence and defense, Russia’s recapitalization of its submarine forces began with its strategic ballistic missile submarines,” the report said. “Construction of general-purpose nuclear and non-nuclear submarines was second in importance.”
U.S. military to counter Russia’s threats in 2016
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggressive moves have prompted Congress to issue approval to the U.S. Navy to shift fiscal 2015 funds in order to upgrade its ability to detect Russian submarines. According to the Pentagon’s budget document, in mid-2016, the U.S. plans to send to the Atlantic Ocean a prototype networked “undersea sensor system” that “addresses emergent real-world threats.”
Back in July, Moscow outlined a new maritime strategy that brings into focus military operations in the Atlantic. Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said that NATO “has been developing actively of late and coming closer to our borders, and Russia is of course responding to these developments.”
According to the report by the intelligence office, even though only a small number of new class ships and submarines will enter the Russia’s navy by the turn of the decade, they will incorporate “the latest advances in militarily significant areas.” Moreover, Russia’s cutting-edge ships will require smaller crews “with personnel better trained and educated to exploit the full potential of their combat systems.”
Russia’s robotization plans in 2016
Russia also has plans to robotize its military. The Russian Ministry of Defense announced on Wednesday it will hold its first scientific conference on robotization in February, 2016, according to RT.
The name of the conference is ‘Robotization of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation’, and it is expected to be attended Russia’s top military and security representatives, as well as delegates from the Russian Academy of Sciences and military plant engineers.
The conference will also feature an exhibition that will boast Russia’s latest robotic developments. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the conference is set to take place at Patriot Park in Kubinka, Moscow Region. Patriot Park is frequently used by the Russian Ministry of Defense to boast its cutting-edge military equipment as well as discuss further steps in the country’s scientific developments.
Russia plans 4,000 military drills in 2016
Russia’s army is set to carry out a record-breaking 4,000 military drills in 2016 as part of its £190 billion rearmament project in a bid to make the nuclear-powered country one of the most heavily resourced military powers in the world.
4,000 military drills are set to include large-scale military drills involving land, sea and air deployments.
“The main [exercises] in this set of events will be the Kavkaz-2016 strategic command and staff drills,” according to Russian Deputy Defense Minister Dmitry Bulgakov, as said at a defense meeting with Putin.
Putin has approved to carry out a series of military drills, including those planned in the Arctic region, where Russia completed fortifying six of its military bases in December.
As part of the fortification of the continent with extremely low temperatures, Russia deployed two S-400 missile systems there. The same amount of advanced surface-to-air missile systems was sent to Syria to provide protection for Russian jets in its military campaign in the war-torn country.
According to the Daily Express, a source at the Russian General Staff of Armed Forces said the surface-to-air missile systems were deployed to the Novaya Zemlya archipelago as well as the Yakutian port of Tiksi in the Arctic Ocean. Meanwhile, Russia’s military bases in the east are now fully capable of launching strikes facilitating active combat.
The announcement to carry out over 4,000 military drills in 2016 comes amid Russia’s military celebrating a yet another 4,000 figure – the number of missions Russia’s aircraft have carried out in Syria.