Tag: Defense

Nordic Air Defence Exercise to be held in Mikkeli, Finland from 30 October

Finnish Army’s ASRAD-R air defense system

A Nordic planning exercise of the air defence branch, Exercise Nordic Helmet 2017 will be held in Mikkeli from 30 October to 2 November 2017.

Involving the planning of upcoming air defence exercises as well as exchanging of information and experiences concerning air defence weapons systems, the exercise will be led by Inspector of Air Defence, Colonel Ari Grönroos from the Finnish Army Command.

Altogether 20 professional soldiers are to participate in the exercise from Finland, Sweden and Norway. Meanwhile, meeting of the participating countries’ Inspectors of Air Defence will be organised.

Exercise Nordic Helmet 2017 is part of Nordic defence cooperation, Nordefco, resting on sustained contacts between Nordic armed forces and defence administrations as well as regular meetings. Finland currently holds the Nordefco chairship.

Organised in alternate years in Finland, Sweden and Norway, the exercise Nordic Helmet was previously organised in Finland in 2014.

 

Russian defense contractor developing new heavy helicopter prototype

Mi-28 and Mi-26T2V

Russian Helicopters Group will modernize the Mil Mi-26 helicopter for Russia’s Defense Ministry and is now developing a prototype of a new Mi-26T2V rotocraft, the company’s press office reported on Friday.

“On the basis of the design documentation developed by the Moscow Mil Helicopter Enterprise, Rostvertol Company is carrying out work to develop a prototype of a new Mi-26T2V helicopter with the subsequent flight trials,” the rotocraft manufacturer’s press office said.

Based on the customer’s requirements, the Mi-26T2V helicopter should be able to fly in any geographical region and any weather conditions. The number of the crewmembers of a modernized helicopter has remained unchanged and equals five men.

Valery Matytsin/TASS

“The new helicopter will embody the latest technical solutions considering its use in combat conditions. I want to note that the talk is about the upgrade of precisely the military version of the Mi-26 rather than the Mi-26T rotocraft, which is exported,” Russian Helicopters CEO Andrei Boginsky was quoted by the company’s press office as saying.

The upgraded Mi-26T2V helicopter will have a lifting capacity of 20 tonnes. The helicopter will be fitted out with modern NPK90-2 integrated onboard radio-electronic equipment and also with an onboard defensive aids system to protect the helicopter against missiles of various homing types.

 

 

 

Allied Air Command central to US-led BMD exercise Formidable Shield 17

Ballistic Missile Defence Ops Cell in Ramstein HQ Allied Air Command. Romanian, British and german airmen watching on screens.

RAMSTEIN, Germany – Allied Air Command successfully accomplished support for the US-led Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) exercise Formidable Shield 17 from September 24 to October 18, 2017.

This tactical level BMD exercise was conducted by Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) on behalf of the US Sixth Fleet. Allied Air Command enabled the datalink architecture through NATO’ system of systems that can manage, communicate and provide decision-making information to NATO command entities.

A US exercise with NATO involvement, Formidable Shield 17 demonstrated the capability of Nations and the Alliance to execute live intercepts of missile threats using a complex system of sensors and shooters in defence of NATO Allies’ territories, populations and forces from the sea.

This exercise provided nations the ability to connect fire units and sensors to NATO’s data-link architecture.  With the assistance of US Joint Interface Tactical Control Officers and through a complex architecture, Allied ships and aircraft were able to integrate surveillance pictures from the tactical to the operational levels of command.

For the first time in Allied Air Command history a fully Integrated Air and Missile Defence Picture involving joint assets was used to support a no-notice launch and simultaneous engagement of ballistic and air defence targets to test the live-fire version of the defence in depth concept of operations.

Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States participated with forces in exercise FORMIDABLE SHIELD 17; Belgium and Denmark also send staff members.  In total, 14 ships, ten aircraft, and more than 3.300 personnel participated in this exercise.  NATO AWACS sorties conducted important link integration and range safety functions throughout the exercise.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

 

Formidable Shield 2017 concludes with supersonic target engagement

HNLMS Tromp launches an ESSM during an earlier evolution as part of FS 17. Photo: Dutch Navy

Europe’s premier integrated air and missile defense drill Formidable Shield concluded October 17 with ally ships engaging a supersonic target off the coast of Scotland.

The US Navy-led exercise began September 24 and saw the participation of warships from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and US.

During the closing collective self-defense scenario, Dutch frigate HNLMS Tromp (F803) fired a Standard Missile (SM) 2 and an Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) against the supersonic target.

U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons from 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, were designated as “opposition forces” and fired the supersonic target during this exercise scenario.

The two missiles fired against the supersonic target Oct. 17 occurred during the third live-fire event of FS17. During FS17, four nations conducted a total of 11 successful missile launches.

During the first live-fire event Oct. 7, the Canadian frigate HMCS Montreal (FFH 336) fired three Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) fired two SM-2s at four incoming anti-ship cruise missiles.

The second live-fire event took place on Oct. 15, with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) firing one SM-3 Block IB guided missile against a medium-range ballistic missile target. Also on Oct. 15, the Spanish frigate SPS Alvaro de Bazan (F101) fired one ESSM against an incoming anti-ship cruise missile while Tromp fired two ESSMs against a pair of incoming anti-ship cruise missiles.

Notable ‘firsts’ that occurred during FS17 include: the first time NATO’s smart defense concept was demonstrated with ships serving as air defense units protecting naval ballistic missile defense units; the first no-notice launch of anti-ship cruise missiles as part of an IAMD scenario; and the first time a NATO IAMD task group was exercised at sea.

 

Norway beefs up military presence in Finnmark

Mobilization to Finnmark will give us more soldiers ready for combat on shorter notice, says Minister of Defense Ine Eriksen Søreide.

The Defense Minister on Friday announced the new structure of the army and the home guard. The plan pays special emphasis on northern Norway.

In Finnmark, Norway’s northernmost region, gets a full cavalry battalion at Porsangermoen. That means 400 soldiers, including conscripts, and heavy arms.

Finnmark borders Russia to the east and the new structure of the Norwegian army comes in response to what the minister says is «a more demanding and less predictable» security situation.

«This shows will and ability to defend ourself in the north, and it is deterrent,» Ine Eriksen Søreide says.

Additional to a cavalry battalion, a new Ranger Company with 200 soldiers with light anti-arcraft and anti-armor weapons will be based with the Garrison of Sør-Varanger, directly on the border to Russia. That decision was taken last year. While Porsangermoen is some 200 kilometers west of the Russian border, the Garrison of Sør-Varanger is located next to Kirkenes airport some 5 kilometers from Norway’s border to Russia’s Kola Peninsula.

The Garrison of Sør-Varanger is today a border guard force. Here on the Pasvik, the border river forming the border between Norway and Russia. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Ready for combat

Also the Home Guard will be strengthened in Finnmark, and Home Guard forces in other parts of Norway will be equipped and trained for fast transfer to Finnmark in case that should be needed. The Home Guard and the Army will be co-located with the army in Finnmark to ensure uniformed planning and management of land operations, the ministry informs.

The battalion at Skjold in Troms will be converted from a infantry battalion to a mechanised battalion, mainly consisting of personell from a new active reserve. The Defense Ministry says it will be have more exercises and training on mobilizing making this battalion ready for combat on short notice.

Hikes defense budget

Presented on Thursday, the government’s budget for 2018 gave a signifiant boost to Norway’s Armed Forces with a 3 billion kroner (€321 million) increase in spendings.

The budget proposal strengthens our armed forces. Together with our Allies we have pledged to increase defense spending in order to protect our mutual values, security and interests at home and abroad. Our aim is to ensure that the armed forces have the training, equipment and support necessary for their work. This budget provides for exactly that, states the minister of defence, Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide says.

Coastal Rangers with the Norwegian Coastal Ranger Command conducting coastal operations alongside the Norwegian Royal Navy

Finnmark [ˈfinmɑrk] ( listen) (Northern Sami: Finnmárkku, Finnish: Ruija, Russian: Фи́ннмарк, Fínnmark) is a county (“fylke”) in the extreme northeastern part of Norway. By land, it borders Troms county to the west, Finland (Lapland region) to the south, and Russia (Murmansk Oblast) to the east, and by water, the Norwegian Sea (Atlantic Ocean) to the northwest, and the Barents Sea (Arctic Ocean) to the north and northeast.

The county was formerly known as Finmarkens amt or Vardøhus amt. Since 2002, it has had two official names: Finnmark (Norwegian) and Finnmárku (Northern Sami). It is part of the Sápmi region, which spans four countries, as well as the Barents Region, and is the largest and least populated county of Norway.

Situated at the northernmost part of continental Europe, where the Norwegian coastline swings eastward, Finnmark has always been an area where East meets West, in culture as well as in nature and geography. Vardø, the easternmost municipality in Norway, is located farther east than the cities of St. Petersburg and Istanbul.

Increasing Russian military on the Finnmark border has prompted the Norwegian government to deploy military forces to the region to shore up the existing defences.

 

 

Ruska 17: a Succesful Test of Finland’s Air Defense

Chief of Staff of the Finnish Air Force, Brigadier General Jari Mikkonen and a F/A-18 Hornet multi-role fighter equipped with air-to-ground precision-guided weapons at Rissala Air Base during Ruska 17 exercise.

Ruska 17 Air Operations exercise, which took place in from 9 to 13 October, focused on all aspects of the air defense of Finland. In terms of the amount of troops participating Ruska 17 was the largest exercise of the Finnish Air Force in 2017. One of the training targets of Ruska was to test the use of the precision-guided air-to-ground weapons of the Finnish Air Force F/A-18 Hornet multi-role fighter fleet as a part of the operations of the Finnish Defence Forces.

“Ruska 17 was successful in testing our capability to fight a battle as an air force, says Brigadier General, Jari Mikkonen, the Chief of Staff of the Finnish Air Force. ” In this year’s exercise we were able to train the whole chain of functions required for the execution of air operations in an efficient and safe manner, Air base operations, Command and Control, surveillance, operational command and flight operations are all functions that one needs to master.”

“During the exercise week we carried out successful large-scale air operations that included the use of our air-to-ground capabilities. An exercise that puts the performance and capabilities of all types of Air Force war time units into a test is vital to the air defense of Finland.

The main goal of Ruska exercises that have been organized annually is to train Finnish Defence Forces personnel, conscripts and reservists in their tasks in all functions of the war time air defence of Finland.

During Ruska 17 Finnish Defence Forces personnel, reservists and conscripts were trained to plan an conduct operations including the usa of the F/A-18 air-to-ground precision-guided weapons.

“Well-trained troops are key elements in our capability to fulfil our mission, BGen Mikkonen says. “Ruska 17 was an excellent opportunity to train our personnel, reservists and conscripts. A motivated reserve force that knows its duties well ensures the continuity of our operations and brings flexibility and resilience. Judging by what I saw during Ruska 17 and the feedback I’ve received, our reserve is meets these standards well.

A Test of Finnish-Swedish Cooperation

Finnish-Swedish air force cooperation has a long history and in the recent years it has intensified. In 2016 Finland’s and Sweden’s combat aircraft took part in each other’s Ruska 16 and Flygvapenövning 16 exercises.

In Ruska 17, the Swedish air force took part in the exercise with flying units carrying out both air defense tasks of Finland in the and acting as the adversary of the defenders. Earlier this fall, Finnish Air Force F/A-18s were also seen in a similar role in Sweden’s Aurora 17 exercise.

In Ruska 17, a significant milestone was achieved as the Swedish Air Force Gripen multi-role fighters were integrated in the air defense system of Finland performing their missions together with the Finnish F/A-18 multirole fighters showing significant interoperability. The air forces train together in the context of the Finnish-Swedish Defense Cooperation (FISE) that the governments of Finland and Sweden have agreed to pursue.

This ensures that the air force cooperation can deepen further in the future.

Ruska 17 Air Operations Exercise proved that the procedures and systems of the Finnish and Swedish Air Force are interoperable.

“Swedish Air Force took part in Ruska as a part of both the defensive Blue force and their adversary”, Bgen Jari Mikkonen says. “In this week’s exercise, the FISE defense cooperation was realized in our ability to conduct air operations together. We showed that both our procedures and our systems are interoperable enabling us to deepen our cooperation further. By taking part in each other’s exercises we make more extensive and versatile air operations possible and also develop our capabilities.”

The decision on Ruska 17 and its execution schedule was made over a year ago which also marked the start for the exercise planning.

Preparations for Ruska 17 also included one preparatory exercise: During week 40 in early October Finnish and Swedish aircraft participating in Ruska took part in Baana 17 air exercise that focused on flying operations to and from a temporary road base in Vieremä, Eastern Finland.

Late in the week preceding Ruska live exercise stage was also the time when most of the troops required for the event were called for service and equipped for their mission. A total of 5,100 personnel took part in Ruska 17 with 2,900 reservists included in the number.

During Ruska 17 Finnish F/A-18s and Swedish Gripens operated from several temporary war time air bases, including Vieremä road base in Eastern Finland.

According to BGen Mikkonen, the Ruska 17 exercise planning, preparatory actions and the live exercise stage were conducted successfully.

“The Red force provided the Blue forces with an adversary that showed variety in its actions and the difficulty level of the training was gradually raised during the exercise. The Blue force showed skills and capability of the Finnish air defense that is sure to have a pre-emptive effect on military crises.”

The flight operation of Ruska 17 ended in the afternoon of October 13. Before concluding the exercise, the temporary air base functions established will be removed and the reservists will return to their civilian duties.

“After the exercise I’m looking forward to receiving feedback and suggestions for the development of the exercise concept”, Brigadier General Mikkonen says. “I want to take this opportunity to thank the troops participating in the exercise for excellent performance. I’d also like to thank the residents of the area of operations for understanding as the jet noise caused by a large-scale exercise such as Ruska can be quite high at times”.

 

Suomen Ilmavoimat

 

Russia’s formidable S-400 Triumf air defense missile system

Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

MOSCOW, October 9. /TASS/.

Russia’s Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation reported on October 9, 2017 that Moscow and Riyadh had reached an agreement on the delivery of S-400 air defense missile systems and other armaments to Saudi Arabia.

The S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) is a Russian long-and medium-range air defense missile system. It is designed to destroy air attack and reconnaissance means (including stealth aircraft) and any other aerial targets amid intensive counter-fire and jamming.

Development and entry into service

The work on the conceptual design of the point air defense missile system initially designated as the S-300PM3 was launched by the Almaz research and production association (currently the Almaz research and production association named after Academician Alexander Raspletin, Moscow) in the mid-1980s under the supervision of Chief Designer Alexander Lemansky. This work was intensified in the late 1990s and on February 12, 1999 the system was demonstrated for the first time at the Kapustin Yar practice range (the Astrakhan Region) to then-Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev. The trials of the most advanced air defense missile system were carried out in the 2000s.

On April 28, 2007, the S-400 went into service and the first battalion of the newest surface-to-air missile systems assumed combat duty on August 6 that year in the town of Elektrostal (the Moscow Region). Six weeks later, On September 27, 2007, the Triumf’s developer, Alexander Lemansky who saw the launch of his missile system into serial production, died at the Kapustin Yar practice range. The system’s first live-fire exercises were successfully carried out at the Kapustin Yar practice range in 2011.

 

The S-400 is based on the S-300PMU2 air defense missile complex. It differs from its predecessors by its extended combat range and the capability of using new surface-to-air missile systems. It is capable of detecting and destroying low-observable (stealth) and fast-moving aerial targets.

S-400 system and its integral parts

The S-400 Triumf comprises the following:

  • a combat control post;
  • a three-coordinate jam-resistant phased array radar to detect aerial targets;
  • six-eight air defense missile complexes (with up to 12 transporter-launchers, and also a multifunctional four-coordinate illumination and detection radar);
  • a technical support system;
  • missile transporting vehicles;
  • a training simulator.

The S-400 system can also additionally include an all-altitude radar (detector) and movable towers for an antenna post. All the S-400’s means are mounted on the wheeled all-terrain chassis (produced by the Minsk Wheeled Tractor Factory and the Bryansk Automobile Enterprise) and can be transported by rail, water and air transport.

The S-400 can selectively operate with the use of no less than 5 missile types of various takeoff weights and launch ranges to create a layered air defense zone.

The S-400 is also capable of exercising control of other air defense missile systems (the Tor-M1, the Pantsyr-S1), providing highly effective air defense even amid a mass air attack with the use of electronic warfare means.

Technical characteristics

  • target detection range – up to 600 km;
  • aerodynamic target kill range – from 3 to 250 km;
  • tactical ballistic missile destruction range – from 5 to 60 km;
  • target destruction altitude – from 2 to 27 km;
  • engageable target velocity – up to 17,300 km/h;
  • the number of targets engaged at a time – up to 36 (up to six with one air defense missile complex);
  • the number of simultaneously guided missiles – 72;
  • the time of the system’s deployment from its march position – 5-10 min, the time of making the system combat ready from the deployed position – 3 min;
  • the operational service life of ground-based systems – no less than 20 years, air defense missiles – no less than 15 years;

Russian Aerospace Force Deputy Commander-in-Chief Viktor Gumyonny said on April 8, 2017 that missiles capable of “destroying targets in outer space, at long distances and large speeds” had started arriving for S-400 systems.

S-400 systems on combat duty in the Russian Armed Forces

According to public sources, 19 regiments armed with S-400 complexes were on combat duty in the Russian Armed Forces as of April 2017. Overall, these regiments included a total of 38 battalions and 304 launchers in Elektrostal, Dmitrov, Zvenigorod, Kurilovo (Moscow Region), Nakhodka (the Primorye Territory), Kaliningrad, Novorossiysk (the Krasnodar Territory), Polyarny (the Murmansk Region), Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (the Kamchatka Territory), Novosibirsk, Vladivostok, Sevastopol and other places.

The state armament program envisages the arrival of 56 S-400 battalions for troops by 2020, which will make it possible to rearm 28 two-battalion air defense missile regiments.

A battalion of Triumf surface-to-air missile systems was deployed on November 25, 2015 from the Moscow Region to Syria’s Hmeymim air base accommodating the Russian air task force. Later on, according to media reports, another S-400 battalion was deployed in the Syrian province of Hama.

 

 

Allies defend against subsonic anti-ship cruise missiles during Formidable Shield 2017

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joshua D. Sheppard/Released)

In a live-fire integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) scenario organized as part of exercise Formidable Shield 2017 off the coast of Scotland, ally ships worked together to defend against three subsonic anti-ship cruise missiles on October 7.

During the collective self-defense scenario, Canadian frigate HMCS Montreal (FFH 336) fired Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) fired Standard Missiles-2 at the incoming Mirach and Firejet anti-ship cruise missiles as part of a no-notice launch of anti-ship cruise missiles in the IAMD exercise scenario.

The Mirach and Firejet missiles were launched from the U.K. Ministry of Defense’s Hebrides Range located on the Western Isles of Scotland.

Simultaneously, ships from France, Italy, Spain, and USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) tracked a short-range ballistic-missile target that was also fired from the Hebrides Range during a simulated engagement, conducting all steps of a routine engagement.

More than 14 ships, 10 aircraft, and approximately 3,300 personnel from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S., are participating in FS17.

Formidable Shield 2017 began Sept. 24, and is scheduled to conclude Oct. 18, 2017. This exercise is planned to be a recurring, biennial event, and is designed to assure allies, deter adversaries, and demonstrate our commitment to collective defense of the NATO alliance. Formidable Shield and exercise Joint Warrior 17-2, a U.K.-led, multinational exercise in a maritime training environment for allies to improve interoperability and prepare forces for combined operations, are occurring concurrently.

“This exercise provides the opportunity to use portions of NATO BMD architecture and develop potential tactics, techniques and procedures in the NATO operations. STRIKFORNATO is, since 2016, the organization responsible for control of NATO Maritime Ballistic Missile Defense forces; Formidable Shield is the ideal opportunity to exercise those capabilities at sea, for the first time, with a NATO IAMD task group.

This exercise is a prime example of NATO strength and demonstrates the commitment of NATO allies to the security of Europe,” said Rear Adm. Francesco Covella, Italian Navy, STRIKFORNATO Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations.

 

Poland’s defense minister calls for scrutinizing Ukrainian claims about Zapad 2017

Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz

WARSAW, October 1. /TASS/.

Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz came up with the assertions on Friday that Ukrainian officials were perfectly well informed on the Russian-Belarusian military exercise Zapad 2017 and hence their allegations that Russian troops had stayed back on the territory of Belarus after completion of the maneuvers were to be treated seriously.

“We’re examining the information from the Ukrainian side very attentively,” he told Polish television. “The Ukrainians are very competent in the affairs of the Russians and I personally would evaluate their information seriously.”

He admitted along with it he was unprepared either to confirm or to disprove the claims of the Kiev officials.

As it follows from Macierewicz’s claims, a total of 120,000 servicemen took part in Zapad 2017 and the pullout of so many military units should take up a long enough period of time.

“It’s always possible to say the process is incomplete and we’re witnessing the procedure of the troops’ return home rather than with the stationing them for long,” he said. “I think we’ll have an opportunity at the end of next week to assess if some troops have stayed back on the territory of Belarus or if the Ukrainians made an error.”

The strategic Russian-Belarusian exercise Zapad 2017 was held in Belarus from September 14 through September 20. Engaged in it was a contingent of up to 12,700 men and officers. The Belarusian Defense Ministry said on Thursday, September 28 the last echelon carrying the troops that had taken part in the maneuvers had left railway station of Borisov in Belarus.

The chief of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Force, Viktor Muzhenko told Reuters earlier Russia had left behind some troops on the territory of Belarus after completion of Zapad 2017.

Gen Igor Konashenkov, the official spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday the information stood at variance with reality.

He said Muzhenko’s information on the troops Russia had ostensibly hidden in Belarus exposed the degree of degradation of the Ukrainian General Staff and the professional inaptitude of its top official.

 

General Dynamics gets funds for additional two Arleigh Burke destroyers

Illustration. Photo: US Navy

The US Navy has awarded General Dynamics Bath Iron Works a contract modification fully funding the construction of two new Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, DDG 126 and DDG 127.

DDG 126 was awarded under the contract that was part of a multi-year competition for DDG 51-class destroyers in 2013. DDG 127 was approved by Congress under separate legislation.

Dirk Lesko, president of Bath Iron Works, said: “These contracts help to stabilize our business and are welcome news. We are grateful to Maine’s congressional delegation and Navy Secretary Spencer for their efforts and leadership.”

The contract modification includes funding for the Flight III upgrades on DDG 126. The upgrades will incorporate the new Advanced Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) that will replace the existing SPY-1 radar installed on the previous DDG 51 ships.

Flight III destroyers will operate with more personnel, have a wider stern to increase ship’s buoyancy and will have a modified deckhouse to accommodate the radar’s size and weight.

There are currently four DDG 51 destroyers in production at Bath Iron Works: Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), Carl M. Levin (DDG 120) and John Basilone (DDG 122).

The Navy has named DDG 126 the Louis H. Wilson, Jr., after the 26th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, who was a World War II recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Guam.

 

Latvian Defense Ministry considers using former Soviet army facilities for drills

Skrunda-1, is a ghost town and former Soviet radar station located 5 km (3 mi) to the north of Skrunda, in Raņķi parish, Latvia. It was the site of two Dnepr radar (NATO “Hen House”) radar installations constructed in the 1960s.

RIGA, Sept 19 (LETA) – In view of rapid growth of the Latvian Home Guard and enhanced allied presence in Latvia, the Latvian Defense Ministry plans to develop the existing military training grounds and is also considering using former Soviet military facilities in Latvia for training purposes, Viesturs Silenieks (Greens/Farmers), the ministry’s parliamentary secretary, told the press after the meeting of the parliamentary committee.

The committee on defense, interior affairs and corruption prevention today met behind closed doors and discussed with the Defense Ministry officials development of the military training grounds.

Silenieks said that there were no plans for construction of new military training grounds in the next few years but some of the existing training areas would be upgraded and the ministry was thinking also about using the former Soviet military facilities or other abandoned sites such as quarries in isolated locations for training purposes.

“We are looking for the sites that would require minimal investment,” the Defense Ministry’s parliamentary secretary said.