Kavkaz 2020 – September 23 (Day 3)

This day seemed to focus on activities by naval infantry, coastal defense forces, and independent VDV battalions with armor support, particularly units of the 7th division. The center piece might have been exercises on the Caspian coast. Several events took place involving Russian units training in Abkhazia, S. Ossetia, and Armenia. A fair bit of activity associated with naval infantry units belonging to Caspian Flotilla. Some air operations with unguided weapons, but the day was relatively light compared to September 21-22nd


At Kopanskoy training range Mi-24, Mi-35, Mi-28N and Ka-52 helicopters conducted low altitude flights, rocket attacks, gun fire, etc.  Su-30SM and Su-34 aircrews destroyed more than 40 targets at different ranges as part of the day’s exercises, unguided rockets and bombs used for this one, altitude ranged from 600-1200 meters.

Airborne (VDV)

7th Guards air assault division is fielding an independent tank battalion to train in mountainous conditions. They engaged targets imitating moving tanks at 2000m. Targets appeared for brief periods of time, surprising the battalion. Another part of the training was firing while conducting flank maneuvers, and on the move. (I’m guessing this was at Prudboy range). No air drops on the 23rd, and my guess is that some of the VTA is busy with Slavic Brotherhood 2020 which is featuring parachute drops on this day. So they may be overly taxed on Il-76MD assets. It seems the drop is scheduled for the 24th as part of this exercise.

T-72B3s assigned to VDV assault battalion

Training range Prudboy (Volgograd oblast)

Artillery units armed with 2s19 MSTA-S conducted live fire exercises against targets at 15km range, displacing after firing. Drones were used to help with targeting and battle damage assessment.

MSTA-S artillery at Prudboy

CBRN units armed with RPO-A Shmel employed UAS to detect and then destroy lightly armored vehicles. Another episode involved sniper training at night, stopping a lightly armored column of enemy vehicles using ASVK and SVD rifles. Using Strelets system they then targeted artillery onto the stopped column.


Training range Kapustin Yar (Astrakhan oblast)

In drone news, a joint unmanned aviation group was created composed of units fielding Forpost, Orlan-10, Electron-3, and some other systems unmentioned. Altitudes ranged from 100m to 5000m. This one is interesting as they seem to be creating a sort of drone tactical group by combining different units. 20 combat helicopters, Mi-28 & Ka-52, conducted 80mm unguided rocket strikes against targets at the range.

Training range Ashuluk (Astrakhan oblast)

More than 800 soldiers from a mountain brigade (presumably 34th), for the first time conducted training in organizing maneuver warfare at night, using NVD. Exercise consisted of maneuver, target practice at 800-1200m, use of flares. Vehicles were mostly light armored MTLB-MB. (Although none of the images showed them using NVD).

Not sure who had the NVD

where's the NVD.

Military Police and Spetsnatz repelled an attack by diversionary groups against a transport column carrying munitions. Exercise scenario: adversary forces sought to intercept and pilfer a resupply unit being escorted by MPs and Spetz. They’re testing the new Namotka-KS next gen radio station, providing two way digital communications. Also some limited air operations, Su-30SM and Su-25SM using unguided bombs in response to a simulated attack on ground forces.

MPs at Ashuluk

Black Sea Fleet & 7th Division units in Krasnodar

VDV units belonging to Novorossiysk’s 7th Division, presumably the 108th  regiment repelled a landing by enemy marines from the Black Sea at Raevsky training range in Krasnodar. They were supported by Mi-28 helicopters. An enemy marine brigade (wonder who that could be) attempted to seize a platsdarm via amphibious assault. Reconnaissance detachments using Orlan-10 UAS detected their positions, while Mi-8s airlifted several airborne units to counter them. Blocking fire was executed with artillery support from D-30 122m howitzers and 2s9 Nona-S mortars. The units tank company of T-72B3s engaged enemy forces under cover of artillery fire, along with VDV ATGM units armed with Konkurs. Su-27s also engaged in providing air cover. The final element of this event was a river crossing by VDV units to engage remaining adversary forces.

171st naval crossing171st tank bttn defending

more vdv

Naval infantry units began loading onto LSTs: Azov, Novocherkassk, Tsezar Kunikov (Ropucha class). Presumably 328nd Naval Infantry Battalion. They will conduct an amphibious landing at Taman Peninsula.

Caspian Flotilla & 177th Naval Infantry Regiment

Coastal defense forces armed with Bal CDCM conducted simulated electronic launches against a naval target (ship) in the Caspian Sea. They also ran reload drills, displacement and evading counter battery fire. Buyan-M class missile boat Uglich served as the OPFOR target.

At training range Adanak, in Dagestan, the 177th naval infantry regiment dismounted from Mi-8 transport helicopters, tying down adversary forces. They were supported by Mi-35s. Reconnaissance units assigned to the 177th naval infantry regiment identified targets using Orlan-10 drones, setup an ambush, and surprised an enemy armored column. They also cleared mines, clearing a corridor to advance. About 700 soldiers from the regiment are participating in exercises at this range with BTR-82AM, BM-21 Grad, D-30 Howitzers, and 120mm Sani mortars.

Naval Infantry carrying Orlan-10

A different detachment of naval infantry conducted an amphibious landing at Zelenomorsk, Dagestan on the Caspian coast. The landing was supported by small artillery boats, and other ships of the Caspian Flotilla, along with Mi-24 and Mi-35 helicopters. Assault units dismounted from Mi-8 helicopters, while a recon detachment parachuted in behind the supposed OPFOR. This event involved 500 naval infantry, 24 ships/boats, and two FSB coast guard patrol ships, along with 40 pieces of armored equipment.

Iranian fast attack craft Paykan and Joshan (Sina-class) supported the Russian landing with artillery fire, they worked jointly with Russian Gepard-class (11661.1) Tartarstan, Buyan-M class Veliky Ustyug & Astrakhan. The Tartarstan then destroyed an enemy cruise missile which was being imitated by a Saman target, using its Osa-MA2 SAM complex, while smaller artillery boats Astrakhan and Uglich fired on naval targets (presumably with artillery).

Caspian flotilla landing 3MLRS firingZelenomorsk nav infantry landing

A special detachment of PDSS, typically consisting of combat divers, and specially trained personnel who defend facilities against opposing diver units, conducted counter-diversionary training. The crew of Grachonok-class «Юнармеец Дагестана» detected enemy divers using its sonar suite, then two detachments of PDSS took them out. OPFOR was also played by light-divers who could use any tactic they wanted to try and approach their targets.

South Ossetia – Tactical group belonging to 4th military base (58th CAA) in South Ossetia conducted a march to training range Dzartsemi. During the march they were ambushed by an OPFOR (simulated by a recon battalion belonging to the Russian base). Exercise focused on scouting, discerning ambushing forces, air defense while on the move. About 1000 Russian soldiers and 300 pieces of equipment are participating in S. Ossetia exercises as part of Kavkaz-2020.

South Ossetia 4th base BTG

Abkhazia – Joint Russian-Abkhazian training continues on training range Tsabal and the Black Sea coast. Practice includes defending territory from amphibious assault. The exercise will conclude with multiple live fire and combined arms maneuver events. Equipment involved ranges from T-72B3, BTR-82AM, to Shturm ATGM, 2S3, BM-21, D-30, 120mm Sani mortars, Ka-52, Mi-8, and Mi-8AMTSh.

recon units in Abkhazia

Armenia – Training continues with drones to provide situational awareness and a common operating picture of the two countries’ forces involved in the exercise. Artillery units from both countries engaged targets, and assessed battle damage using UAS. A separate exercise involved MPs stopping diversionary groups at the training range Alagyaz, Armenia.

Special thanks to Konrad Muzyka for helping gather and compile some of the information.

In the interest of catching up (there’s a lot taking place 24-26th)  I’m nixing some of the other activities of I might post from CMD/WMD other areas. Well, except damage to the Kazanets project 1331M anti-submarine warfare ship of the Baltic Fleet. Which has nothing to do with this, but it did hit the Ice Rose cargo ship a few days ago near a bridge.

Damage to Kazanets

4 thoughts on “Kavkaz 2020 – September 23 (Day 3)

  1. Michael — This seems quite sophisticated and innovative. Lots of different kinds of activities coordinated with force-on-force maneuvering. Is it as impressive as it looks or is it still a Soviet-style scripted show put on to look good but with any chance of error or deviation squeezed out?

    MFC ________________________________


    • some of it is as impressive as it looks, other pieces are curtailed because of the costs involved of using more sophisticated training means, and other components are overly scripted – its a mix as always. Generally speaking this is not a Soviet show, except for the main day at the main training range when Putin is there, you get a lot of fixed fire and pre-planned maneuver. The exercises are fairly real and the OPFOR, when there is one, has room to improvise. Many of the simulations may not pass muster, but again, its not because they’re trying to make a show of it – there’s nobody to impress at most of the ranges


  2. What’s your take of the recent clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan given the proximity of the conflict zone to that of the Exercises and how may Russia respond if the situation spirals out of control?


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