Issue 11 – 16 October – 22 October 2023
Key takeaways from last week’s developments
- Military personnel and equipment preparations for the winter training period continued in the Baltic Fleet;
- The Baltic Fleet conducted basic training of soldiers conscripted during the fall draft, which began on 01OCT;
- The Baltic Fleet verified combat readiness and the level of training of its subordinate organizations;
- The Baltic Fleet’s ground component maintained a high training tempo, carrying out a significant number of live-fire exercises;
- Helicopters from Baltic Fleet’s naval aviation carried out all-purpose sorties, including live firings;
- The Baltic Fleet’s naval aviation trained in-flight refuelling;
- A Russian oceanographic research vessel capable of conducting underwater operations departed the Baltic Sea;
- A Tarantul-class missile corvette carried out electronic (simulated) 3M80 Moskit missile launches;
- Due to the recent NATO expansion, the Baltic Fleet’s vessels may permanently operate in Lake Ladoga.
As the end of the summer training period approached, the Baltic Fleet carried readiness checks that verified the level of training of its subordinate organisations. Last week, this mainly concerned the 11th Army Corps and its sub-units.
Moreover, the efforts of all components are now also 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, continued in the Baltic Fleet. On Monday (16OCT), the Western Military District Press Service announced that over 1,100 conscripts would be assigned to military units stationed in the Kaliningrad Oblast. This process will last until the end of November.
Ground domain activities
On Monday (16OCT), the Press Service of the Western Military District reported that the 11th Army Corps’ (11th AC) signal sub-units (including most probably the 40th Command Battalion stationed in Gusev) carried out a field exercise* aimed at providing communication to the 11th AC’s command post with higher echelon formations (presumably Baltic Fleet’s command post). During the training, military personnel established mobile nodes enabling digital communication between the command posts. The number of soldiers and equipment involved in the exercise is unknown.
On Saturday (21OCT), the Russian Ministry of Defence (MOD) summarised the ongoing live-fire exercises in the Kaliningrad Oblast. The 11th AC’s military personnel continued to conduct many live firings using small arms, machine guns and grenade launchers (during the day and at night) combined with small-unit tactics drills. Russians emphasised that such activities were undertaken under the supervision of experienced soldiers who participated in the Ukraine war. Moreover, the training focused also on improving the ability to conduct storms on potential enemy trenches. According to the press statement, after completing the exercises, some contract soldiers would be deployed to Ukraine to strengthen the forces (troops rotation and replacements) of the 11th AC’s task group currently operating in Luhansk Oblast.
Air domain activities
Last week, the 396th Mixed Helicopter Regiment (396th MHR), subordinate to the 34th Mixed Aviation Division (34th MAD), performed activities demonstrating a high training tempo across all of its sub-units. On Thursday (19OCT), the naval squadron carried out an exercise to practise landings on a ship’s deck. The exercise involved Ka-27 helicopters (both anti-submarine and search and rescue variants) and Baltic Fleet’s Steregushchiy-class (Project 20380) guided-missile corvette Boikiy. On the same day, the attack squadron (Mi-24 helicopters) conducted aerial reconnaissance and simulated air strikes on potential enemy ground targets. Simultaneously, the transport squadron (Mi-8 helicopters) performed low-altitude flights to avoid anti-aircraft defence systems combined with search and rescue training. On the following day (20OCT), Mi-24 helicopters conducted a live-fire exercise aimed at destroying simulated naval targets such as potential enemy vessels and unmanned surface vehicles (USV).
Also, on Friday (20OCT), the Western Military District Press Service informed about the beginning of the exercise focused on practising in-flight refuelling performed by units from the 4th Mixed Aviation Regiment (4th MAR). The activity involved Su-24 and Su-30SM/SM2 aircraft assisted by Il-78 (tanker).
The Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence reported three Russian aircraft intercepted by forces conducting a NATO Air Policing Mission in the Baltic States between 16-22OCT.
From the beginning of 2023, forces conducting a NATO Baltic Air Policing mission in the Baltic States intercepted 285 Russian aircraft.
Naval domain activities
On Monday (16OCT), Project 02670 oceanographic research vessel Yevgeniy Gorigledzhan passed under the Storebaelt Bridge and headed north towards the Kattegat, departing the Baltic Sea. Yevgeniy Gorigledzhan can conduct underwater operations using its onboard deep-submergence vehicles (DSV). The ship’s subordination and the task it is to perform are unclear. However, the ship likely operates under the Main Directorate of Deep-Sea Research (GUGI).
On Tuesday (17OCT), Tarantul-class (Project 1241.1) missile corvette Dmitrovgrad from the 1st Missile Ship Divizion subordinate to the 36th Missile Ship Brigade (Baltiysk Naval Base) carried out electronic (simulated) 3M80 Moskit (NATO reporting name ‘SS-N-22 Sunburn’) missile launches. The activity most likely occurred at a naval training area close to the Kaliningrad Oblast’s shore.
On Wednesday (18OCT), the Press Service of the Western Military District informed about an anti-submarine exercise conducted by two Parchim-class (Project 1331M) anti-submarine corvettes Zelenodolsk and Kazanets 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).
Also on Wednesday, Russians reported that due to the expansion of the NATO alliance in the Baltic Sea region, part of the Baltic Fleet may permanently deploy to Lake Ladoga in the future. This would apply in particular to the Buyan-M-class and Karakurt-class guided-missile corvettes.
*The Russian military nomenclature uses the term тактико-специальные занятия (ТСЗ), which translates directly as tactical-special exercises. This name is generally used for exercises of support units such as signal, reconnaissance, engineering, logistics, etc.
**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.