Russia’s westernmost forces finished a 5,000-strong drill quite literally with a bang. The drill ended with a massive practice airstrike using four different kinds of warplanes in a joint assault, state news agency Itar-Tass reported Thursday, citing Russia’s Western Military District.
The exact number of jets was not given though Su-27, Su-30SM, Su-35 and the MiG-31 units all took part, assisted by Krasukha electronic warfare units. The drill involved jamming enemy detection capabilities, thereby blindsiding the hypothetical designated opponent in the drill.
The practice airstrike was a response to a hypothetical attack, the statement by the military district stated. A total of 2,000 units of military kit were involved in the wider exercise in an unspecified location on Russia’s northwestern flank, which ended Thursday.
Russia’s armed forces in the northwest have pursued a visible reinforcement and uptick in activity in recent years as ties with its Western neighbors have deteriorated. Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 prompted a tide of solidarity from Western powers, particularly in Russia’s neighboring Baltics, which were once part of the Soviet Union.
Russia’s upcoming drill with ally Belarus in the region is currently regarded as a climax in the anxiety Baltic countries have experienced, with increased intercepts of Russian warplanes near their airspace, and Russian naval drills nearby this summer.