What you need to know about Russia's biggest military drill this year

Center 2015 involves 95,000 troops, over 7,000 land vehicles and about 170 airplanes. Source: Mil.ru

Center 2015 involves 95,000 troops, over 7,000 land vehicles and about 170 airplanes. Source: Mil.ru

The Russian army regularly holds large-scale drills designed to boost the military capabilities of its troops. In 2014, the country's armed forces staged the Vostok 2014 drill, involving over 155,000 troops, about 8,000 various land vehicles, 632 aircraft and 84 warships. This year, the army is preparing for Center 2015, another large exercise. RBTH looked into what promises to be the main military drill of the year.


The Center 2015 drill will begin on Sept. 14, following the current “massive surprise inspection” to check the combat readiness of the Central Military District, which finished on Sept. 12.



The drill will be held in the Central Military District, which includes the units stationed in the Urals, in the Volga Region and in some parts of Siberia, with the headquarters located in the city of Yekaterinburg.



Center 2015 will involve not just the district’s land troops and the air force, but also the airborne units. Civilian emergency agencies, including rescue workers and civilian medical services, will also take part in the tests, which are designed to check how efficiently they can cooperate with the army. The exact number of personnel and hardware involved is unknown at this point, but the current inspection of the Central District units being held from Sept. 7 to Sept. 12 in the run-up to the drill involves 95,000 troops, over 7,000 land vehicles and about 170 airplanes.


What is the purpose of the drill?

According to a statement by Russia's Ministry of Defense, the aim of the exercise is primarily to prepare troops for missions in Central Asia, which Russia considers an important region in terms of security, and also to improve the efficiency of cooperation with Russia's CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) allies. Besides, the drill will serve as a preparatory phase for the upcoming joint exercise between Russia and Belarus, Shield of the Union 2015.


What kinds of missions will be simulated?

The drill will involve various missions intended to boost the efficiency of communication between personnel and the central command and to simulate peacekeeping operations controlled by the commander-in-chief of the ground forces. The army will also check the system of territorial defense and mobilization deployment. The drill will help to evaluate how fast the units can neutralize an attacking opponent and how efficiently they can use the advanced weapons and hardware. The tests are designed to be especially challenging to commanders of battalion tactical groups: To successfully resolve the simulated crisis situations, they will have to make decisions fast, use all of their available resources and think creatively, abandoning classical tactics.


How will the exercise affect the current international climate?

Foreign military attachés were briefed on the Center 2015 drill by the Defense Ministry on Sept. 7.

“The surprise inspection which is currently underway is in fact being held in preparation for the Center 2015 drill and is in no way linked to the recent changes in security and political climate in the world or in Central Asia,” said Lieutenant-General Andrei Kartapolov, head of operations for the Russian General Staff, during the briefing.

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