On 27 September 2012 Russian naval, land and air forces completed major joint military maneuvers in the north-western part of the country. The exercise, which was one of the largest joint combat training events over the last few years, was aimed at protecting Russian interests in the Arctic region.
Over 7,000 personnel, more than 20 ships and submarines, 30 planes and helicopters were involved in the pace of the drill. Military servicemen from the Western Military District practiced the scenarios of countering enemy attacks from sea, protecting civilian ships that pass through the Northern Sea Route from pirates, and performing rescue missions in the Arctic environment.
Special attention was paid to exercising the measures of civilian infrastructure protection. This included the deployment of marine units to remote areas by submarines and ships. Their task was to land on to a hasty coastal area of operations and defend industrial and research facilities situated there with the support from a combined arms brigade of the Western Military District.
During the final day of the exercise surface ships and submarines had performed several launches of cruise missiles that successfully hit training targets.
According to military experts, such hostilities are not likely to happen in the foreseen future, considering current political situation in the world. Such developments of Russian policy in the areas of military capabilities development take into account the expanding militarization of the Arctic region and the principle of “what if…?”.
As long as foreign states or alliances retain and develop their military capabilities in the Arctic Region, Russian armed forces will prepare for a possible use of military means to counter the activities of separate terrorist groups as well as the actions of foreign forces.
Summarizing the lessons learned from the maneuvers, military experts have pointed out that joint actions of formations and units demonstrated high levels of operational and tactical skills of the Western Military District`s Command, excellent combat training of Russian military servicemen, as well as the wish of Russian leaders to continue defending their goals in the Arctic region.