Russian air force units were put on full alert as a part of an inspection of combat readiness in the Central Military District, the Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday, according to the official news agency Tass. The planned inspection includes testing a number of aircraft and their abilities.
The aircraft and equipment needed for airlifting, tactical flights and army aviation are all preparing for full alert assignments. "Advanced teams of experts, as well as supporting engineers and technicians from the branches and units subject to inspections, have left for the designated airdromes where they will do preparations for receiving the aircraft," a Defense Ministry spokesman told Tass Tuesday.
The high alert training is part of the larger snap inspection of troops in the Central Military District scheduled to run through Saturday that was ordered by President Vladimir Putin. The training focuses on both practical and theoretical aspects of military preparation. It also is designed to test communication between military command and airborne forces.
"We have to evaluate the capability of the airborne forces for long-distance deployments and their readiness for landing on unfamiliar zones," said Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, according to Newsweek.
The snap inspection will include a large number of troops and military equipment. "In all, there will be around 95,000 personnel, over 7,000 weapons and pieces of military hardware and about 170 aircraft," said Col. Gen. Andrei Kartopolov at a briefing, according to Russian news service Interfax.
When the inspection finishes, the Russian military is scheduled to begin its Center 2015 war games next Monday. "The exercise will unite under a single command tens of thousands troops from all branches of the Russian armed forces, law enforcement ministries and departments, and they will be active on several firing ranges across Russia exercising special-purpose, research and other assignments," Col. Gen. Vladimir Zarudnitsky, commander of the Central Military District, said in March, according to Tass.
The war games come amid tensions with NATO, which has a major drill of its own, called Exercise Trident Juncture, planned for the end of September. Such military preparations have become more common as tensions between Russia and NATO have grown after Moscow annexed Crimea in March 2014. Russia also has had a purported role in the conflict in Ukraine between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian government, which has killed at least 6,400 people.