Russian president observes Barents Sea military drill

October 11th, 2008 - 11:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Severomorsk (Russia), Oct 11 (RIA Novosti) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev joined the Northern Fleet Saturday to observe military exercises, including a full-range test of the Sineva ballistic missile, in the Barents Sea.Medvedev arrived Saturday along with Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Navy Commander Admiral Vladimir Kuznetsov to observe the exercises. Medvedev announced that the missile had travelled a record 11,547 km.

An aide to the Russian navy commander said it was the first time a submarine had launched the Sineva ballistic missile to its maximum range.

“For the first time in Navy history, the launch was not to the Kura test range in Kamchatka (Russian Far East), but to the equatorial part of the Pacific,” Igor Dygalo said, adding that the launch was made to check the preparedness of naval strategic nuclear forces.

“It seems to me that practically all tasks that were set, were successfully carried out,” the president said.

The Barents Sea drills involved more than 5,000 military personnel, eight ships and five submarines.

Medvedev said he had instructed the defence ministry to develop a programme to build aircraft carriers within two years.

“We need to build new aircraft carriers, this is a very important direction for the Navy’s development,” the president said. “All great countries with powerful navies develop in this way.”

The RSM-54 Sineva is a third-generation liquid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile that entered into service with the Russian Navy in July 2007. It can carry four to 10 nuclear warheads, depending on the configuration.

Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces said last year that Russia would conduct at least 11 test launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles in 2008 and would double the number of launches after 2009 “to prevent the weakening of Russia’s nuclear deterrent”.

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