US military using Russian-style air defenses in major drills
Story Code : 773257
The US National Guard’s 172nd Airlift Wing released a video on Saturday that showed its pilots performing air assault training with personnel from the 148th Air Force Special Operations Command (ASOS) during Southern Strike 19 war games at Camp Shelby, Mississippi.
During the simulated attacks, AH-64 Apache helicopters fired on targets that resembled Russian air defense systems such as Osa and Tor short-range surface-to-air missile systems, the Defence Blog website reported Sunday.
The military drills also involved armored personnel carriers similar in style to Russia’s well-known BTR-80 wheeled amphibious vehicles.
Southern Strike, a large scale military exercise hosted by the Mississippi National Guard, includes conventional and special operations.
The war games began on January 15 will continue until end of the month. The exercise emphasizes air-to-air and air-to-ground attacks as well as special operations forces training opportunities.
The use of military gear similar to ones used by Russian and other rivaling nations is becoming more common in US military drills as the Pentagon shifts its combat strategy from militant fights in the Middle East to more conventional strategies that fit US military expansion in the Pacific.
The change of combat environment to a region that is dominated by Russia and China has led the US military to relearn assault skills that it had long abandoned after the end of Cold War.
In December, the US Marine Corps confirmed reports that it had used a full-size replica of an advanced Chinese fighter jet to simulate combat conditions.
The Chengdu J-20 Mighty Dragon stealth fighter jet was first spotted at a military facility near the Savannah-Hilton Head Airport in Georgia, home to the US Air Dominance Center (ADC).
In 2016, it was reported that the US had painted F/A-18 fighter jets with blue patterns similar to those employed by the Russian military.
US military commanders have said that the styled or real combat vehicles and air defense systems to add extra realism to various exercises.