The Russian military released details of a new Air Force and air defense unit Friday that will be based in the Far East of the country and operate in the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, according to Col. Alexander Gordeye, press-secretary for the regional command. Both units will add to the increased militarization of the general Asia-Pacific region after China and the United States have both established a significant military presence there over the last two years.
"The 11th Air Force and Air Defense Army was formed in the Eastern Military District," Gordeyev was quoted as by pro-Russia news site Sputnik. "It is composed of formations and military units of the 3rd Air Force and Air Defense Command, stationed in the Far East and Eastern Siberia."
The new units will contain the latest missile defense technology, such as the S-300 and S-400. In addition, it will have Su-35S, Su-30SM, Su-30M-2 fighter jets and Ka-52 helicopters.
Moscow is increasing its military presence all across the country, with new tank armies established in the west near the former Soviet Republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Internationally, the Kremlin has also placed ships in the Arctic, Mediterranean, Pacific and Atlantic, and is flying military aircraft across European skies. The military moves, NATO claims, is driving a wedge between East and West, while also taking Europe and Russia back to a Cold War style military postures.
The establishment of the units in the east will cover 13 Russian regions and more than 22,000 miles of air space (13,700km). Authorities say the new units were created to improve Russian military command effectiveness and troop mobilization to the region. However, many of the exercises and missions will take pilots into areas outside of the Russian mainland.
"The pilots are performing combat training missions in the gulfs of the Seas of Okhotsk, Japan, Chukchi, and the East Siberian Sea, in the Pacific Ocean and in the Arctic zone of responsibility of the Eastern Military District," the Defense Ministry said in the Sputnik report.