Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 184

All three legs of Russia’s nuclear triad — sea-, land-, and air-based strategic nuclear weapons — will have been tested when the three-day strategic military exercise "Redukt-97" ends today. The test firings have included submarine-launched ballistic missiles launched from Northern Fleet submarines in the Barents Sea, intercontinental ballistic missiles fired by the Strategic Rocket Forces from the Plesetsk cosmodrome, and cruise missiles launched by Tu-22M3 "Backfire" and Tu-95 "Bear" bombers. Describing the exercise yesterday a senior General Staff officer said that there was also a possibility that one of the few Tu-160 "Blackjack" supersonic bombers left in the Russian Air Force might also participate. The bulk of the Soviet Tu-160s were taken over by Ukraine when the Soviet Union disintegrated. The exercise scenario also involved gaining air supremacy over a simulated aggressor and aimed to test the effectiveness of interaction between the Air Force and the Air Defense Troops. These two armed forces are to be merged next year under the current military reform plan. (Russian media, October 2)

While a lack of combat training continues to be one of the most serious shortcoming of the Russian armed forces, there has been a modest resumption of training maneuvers over the past several months. Highlighting the importance the Russians place on their nuclear deterrent, these have often involved nuclear delivery forces.

Lukashenka’s Visit to Russia Aborted by the Kremlin.