Russian airborne forces to perform biggest assault dropping
The Russian Airborne Forces will drop the biggest assault since 1981, the Izvestia daily writes. The biggest exercise in the latest history will be held this year in the Central Military District in September. It will engage units of several brigades and divisions. The exercise will train reinforcing groups of Russian troops, airdropping parachute and helicopter assault in mountains and plains.
Dropping from lateral doors and rear ramp of an Ilyushin Il-76MD Candid (Picture source: Vitaly Kuzmin)
Paratroopers will not be informed about the landing terrain. The Defense Ministry told the newspaper the massive assault will be held as an element of strategic Center-2019 exercise. Paratroopers will be airlifted to a major distance and land on the selected sites for maneuvers. They have to seize and destroy adversary facilities and seize an airfield where airlifters would land.
The main innovation of upcoming maneuvers is that airlifter crews and paratroopers will know the landing coordinates only when a combat order is issued. Pilots will have to lay the route in real-time and approach the site by landmarks. Paratroopers will land on unknown terrain and find a way to approach adversary facilities.
In the whole airborne history, large-scale exercises with a "blind landing" were held only in 1981. The Soviet army and navy held a tactical exercise on September 4-12. It remained unprecedented by the engaged strength and hardware for decades. Hundred thousand men and nearly all arms of troops were engaged. The maneuvers culminated in the landing of an airborne division at a range near Minsk.
Massive airborne assault is the most complicated element of combat training which demands prudent planning. Dozens of airlifters are engaged to drop several hundred men. They take off from various airfields and approach the landing site in the company of fighter jets. A-50U AEW and Il-22 control and relay aircraft monitor the air situation.
Center-2019 strategic exercise will be held in several regions of the country with different climatic conditions. In particular, several important stages are to be held in the Arctic. Motorized rifle brigades will operate on the territory from Novaya Zemlya to Novosibirsk Islands. Infrastructure is prepared, as well as ports and mooring places to deliver the troops.
In 2018, the strategic Vostok maneuvers for the first time engaged airborne units of the new type. The 31st Airborne Assault Brigade was the test site for the tactic. It is an experimental unit comprising two airmobile battalions which move on helicopters. It was decided after the maneuvers to include helicopter units into the matrix of airborne forces, the Izvestia said.
Dropping of an armored vehicle. Experiments are carried on with crew on board in view of immediate deployment after landing (Picture source: Vitaly Kuzmin)