Military Capabilities

Russian exercise ‘Centre 2019’ to involve 128,000 troops from seven nations

22 August 2019

Military vehicles on the Tsugol training ground during ‘Vostok 2018’, the largest exercise since the Cold War. ‘Centre 2019’ will not come close to ‘Volstok 2018’ in scale, but it may demonstrate the readiness of Russian forces to conduct large scale network centric warfare. Source: Russian MoD

The 'Centre 2019' exercise scheduled by Russia for 16-21 September is expected to involve at least 128,000 personnel from seven nations, as well as 600 aircraft and up to 450 artillery systems, the TASS news agency reported on 20 August, citing the Russian Ministry of Defence Press Service.

'Centre 2019' is Russia's largest exercise scheduled for this training year. It is a series of exercises, the first stage of which is designed to demonstrate the use of command-and-control (C2) structures in "the fight against terrorism, repulsing air strikes, reconnaissance, and defensive actions," the report stated. During the second stage, "the military will go on the offensive to defeat the enemy".

The primary objective of the exercise is to verify the readiness of Russia's armed forces, while increasing the level of co-operation between participating nations. It will also show "the readiness of the military of Russia and Central Asian states to protect national interests", TASS added.

TASS quoted the MoD as saying that military contingents will be provided by China, Pakistan, India, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Russia is expected to provide most of the units for the exercise.

The Caspian Flotilla is also scheduled to provide 15 vessels, including support assets, and will support ground-based operations from the Caspian Sea.

Training will be conducted across eight combined arms training ranges, including Totsky and Donguz in the Orenburg region, Adanak in Dagestan, and Ashuluk near Astrakhan, TASS reported the MoD as stating.

Further training events will be held by some partner nations using their own in-country facilities.

According to TASS, the previous 'Centre 2015' exercise involved only 95,000 personnel, 170 aircraft and units from Kazakhstan.

Russian forces expected to be involved include troops from the Caspian Flotilla, the Central Military District, Eastern Military District, Airborne Troops (VDV), and Russian Air Force Military Transport Aviation.

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