Moscow: Amid escalating tensions in the Middle East over Iran, Russia initiated crucial steps towards its defence preparedness. After joint naval exercises with Iran and China, now Russia has begun new war exercises in the Black Sea. The drills conducted on Thursday included tests of advanced hypersonic missile ‘Kinzhal’ and cruise missile ‘Calibre’. The tests assume much significance as the Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw them.
Russia has conducted tests of advanced missiles and nuclear weapons for the last two years. The tests gained much momentum after the scrapping of the INF treaty with the United States last year. Russia is currently, explicitly focusing on the development and manufacture of hypersonic missiles, capable of dodging missile defence systems and President Putin has also repeatedly asserted it.
Given the developments, the tests conducted in the Black Sea near Crimea are remarkable. The Russian military exercises saw the participation of 30 warships, 40 fighter jets and one submarine. The MiG-31K Interceptor fighter jet test-fired the Kinzhal hypersonic missiles during the drills. The nuclear-capable weapon can travel at speeds up to Mach 10 and has a range of up to 2,000 kilometres.
The military exercises included testing for the Calibre cruise missile as well, where the weapon was fired from both, a destroyer and submarine, Russian sources informed. Furthermore, the tests conducted from a submerged ‘Kolpino’ submarine, was claimed as significant. The Calibre missile can cover a range of up to 4,000 kilometres, and the weapon has already been inducted in the Russia defence forces.
Russia’s defence forces informed that President Vladimir Putin oversaw the military exercises and tests. Analysts believe the tests are therefore a noteworthy development through which Russia has delivered the required message.