Russia will reinforce the country’s airborne assault divisions by adding a third regiment, a military official announced Thursday. The announcement coincided with a Russian military training exercise, in which troops of the country’s Pacific Fleet successfully conducted missile launches in the Sea of Japan.
Russia is expected to increase the paratroops’ strength from 45,000 to 60,000 men, while it also has plans to create a new airborne assault brigade, the state-owned Tass news agency reported, citing a military source, familiar with the matter.
“At the moment discussions with the General Staff are in progress. The structure of airborne assault divisions will be expanded and complemented with a third regiment,” Colonel General Vladimir Shamanov, the commander-in-chief of the Russian Airborne Troops, told Tass, adding that the airborne assault divisions will be armed with reconnaissance and attack drones.
“The units armed with unmanned aircraft are being formed,” Shamanov said. “There are such units in the 83rd brigade in Ussuriysk and the 98th division in Ivanovo already. In several years’ time we plan to have such units in each division, regiment and brigade.”
Thursday’s announcement comes a day after Shamanov said that the share of modern weaponry in Russia’s airborne troops has reached 37 percent. He also said that modern combat equipment in the country’s airborne assault divisions would reach 70 percent by 2020.
Meanwhile, the Russian defense ministry also announced on Thursday that the missile brigade of the country’s Pacific Fleet conducted successful live-firing of the Bal coastal missile system in the Sea of Japan.
During the military training exercise, the missiles hit a targeted salvage vessel anchored 51 miles from the coast, RIA Novosti reported, adding that the Kremlin is expected to hold at least 4,000 military drills throughout 2015.
Russia recently revised its maritime doctrine, boosting its navy’s strategic positions on the Black Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The amendment, approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, also listed the Pacific region as an area of increased strategic importance to Russia.