Issue 10 – 9 October – 15 October 2023
Key takeaways from last week’s developments
- Baltic Fleet verified the level of training and combat readiness of its formations and sub-units as the ending of the summer training period looms;
- Military personnel and equipment preparations for the winter training period occurred in the Baltic Fleet;
- Baltic Fleet conducted basic training of soldiers conscripted during the fall draft, which began on 01OCT;
- Baltic Fleet’s ground component maintained a high training tempo, carrying out many live-fire exercises;
- Baltic Fleet’s marines conducted parachute jumping training and anti-sabotage exercise;
- An anti-submarine exercise took place in the Gulf of Finland;
- Smolnyy-class training ship returned to the Baltic Sea after visiting the Northern Fleet’s Severomorsk Naval Base.
As the end of the summer training period approaches, the Baltic Fleet checked combat readiness and verified the level of training of its subordinate organisations. According to the Western Military District’s press statement, this activity occurred in Kaliningrad Oblast’s training grounds (Pravdinsk and Chmielovka) and Baltic Fleet’s formations and units military complexes (areas of permanent deployment).
Simultaneously, the Russian Ministry of Defence (MOD) stated that more than 1,000 Baltic Fleet’s military personnel conducted live-fire exercises last week, including small arms and grenade launchers (RPG-7 and AGS-17). The firings took place during the day and at night, assisted by instructors with experience from the war in Ukraine.
Moreover, the efforts of all components continued to be directed towards preparing military personnel and equipment for the winter training period, which will begin in early December. At the same time, basic training of soldiers from the autumn conscription, which started on 01OCT, is taking place in the Baltic Fleet. This process will last until the end of November.
Ground domain activities
On Tuesday (10OCT), military personnel from the 336th Naval Infantry Brigade (336th NIB) conducted parachute jumps, presumably at the Chmielovka training ground. The Western Military District Press Service did not provide information about the number of soldiers involved in the activity. However, according to a press statement, the training consisted of more than 50 parachute jumps using D-10 and Arbalet-2 parachute systems. Mi-8 helicopter from a transport squadron subordinate to the 396th Mixed Helicopter Regiment (396th MHR) provided transportation support.
On Wednesday (11OCT), the Department of Information Support of the Baltic Region informed about the ongoing training of the 11th Army Corps (11th AC) infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) drivers (presumably from the 18th Motorised Rifle Division and the 7th Motorised Rifle Regiment, both subordinate to the 11th AC). The training focused on mastering driving techniques, including manoeuvring in rugged terrain. The statement did not provide information about the number of military personnel and vehicles (BMP-2 and BMP-3) involved in the activity.
On Thursday (12OCT), the 11th AC’s signal sub-units (including most probably the 40th Command Battalion stationed in Gusev) carried out an exercise aimed at providing communication to the 11th AC and its sub-units. During the training, military personnel established mobile nodes enabling digital communication between command posts (including videoconferencing). The press release did not provide information about the number of soldiers and pieces of military equipment involved.
On Saturday (14OCT), Russians reported that the 336th NIB’s reconnaissance and sniper rifle companies conducted an anti-sabotage exercise aimed at repelling an attack from a potential enemy sabotage group, which landed on the Kaliningrad Oblast’s coast. More than 50 military personnel participated in the activity, presumably at the Chmielovka training ground.
Air domain activities
On Monday (09OCT), Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopters from the 396th MHR conducted training sorties during the day and at night. An attack squadron (Mi-24) conducted aerial reconnaissance and simulated air strikes on potential enemy ground targets. Simultaneously, the transport squadron (Mi-8) performed low-altitude flights to avoid anti-aircraft defence systems. Mi-8s were later involved in search and rescue training. The Western Military District Press Service did not provide information about the number of aircraft and personnel involved.
The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence reported that NATO Air Policing Mission’s aircraft made no interceptions over the Baltic Fleet between 09-15OCT.
From the beginning of 2023, forces conducting a NATO Baltic Air Policing mission in the Baltic States intercepted 282 Russian aircraft.
Naval domain activities
On Monday (09OCT), the Baltic Fleet’s Altay-class (Project 160) medium seagoing tanker Yelna, currently operating as part of the Russian task force in Syria, most likely conducted replenishment at sea (RAS) of the Northern Fleet’s Moma-class (Project 861) intelligence ship Kildin. The RAS took place about 120 NM north of Matrus, after which Yelna returned to the port of Tartus, most likely on Wednesday (11OCT). Satellite imagery acquired on Thursday (12OCT) confirms the presence of the tanker at Tartus naval piers.
On Tuesday (10OCT), the Press Service of the Western Military District informed about an anti-submarine exercise conducted by three Parchim-class (Project 1331M) anti-submarine corvettes Zelenodolsk, Kazanets and Urengoy subordinate to the Leningrad Naval Base (LNB). The activity focused on detecting and destroying potential enemy submarines using corvettes’ armament (including simulated torpedo launches and laying mines). The exercise occurred most likely at a naval training area in the Gulf of Finland (east of Gogland Island).
On Friday (13OCT), military personnel from the 313th Special Detachment of Anti-Sabotage Forces and Means, subordinate to Baltiysk Naval Base (BNB), conducted an anti-sabotage exercise aimed at repelling an attack of potential enemy sabotage forces on vessels stationed in BNB, during which military divers carried out live-fire exercise using underwater firearms and grenades. Additionally, the detachment’s anti-sabotage task force, consisting of about 30 personnel and three patrol and anti-saboteur boats (presumably Raptor-class and Grachanok-class), stormed and intercepted a potential enemy vessel violating the navigation regime in the Kaliningrad Sea Channel.
Also on Friday, the Baltic Fleet’s Smolnyy-class (Project 887) training ship Perekop passed through the Oresund strait and returned to the Baltic Sea following its training cruise, during which the ship entered the Northern Fleet’s Severomorsk Naval Base for a several-day visit (3-7OCT). On Saturday (14OCT), Perekop reached the Gulf of Gdansk and entered BNB, likely for a short-term visit before returning to its home base (LNB).
*Steregushchiy-class (Project 20380) guided-missile corvette Merkury is not officially assigned to the Baltic Fleet. The corvette was to become part of the Black Sea Fleet. However, Merkury temporarily operates as part of the Baltic Fleet due to the military conflict in Ukraine, the closure of the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits, and the inability to join its target unit.