MOSCOW, September 17. /TASS/. The Russian military use reconnaissance balloons at the Russian-Belarusian joint strategic drills Zapad-2017 (West-2017), the Russian defense ministry’s press service said on Sunday.
According to the ministry, more than 30 systems with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are being used at training grounds of the Western Military District. "Apart from that, pilot unmanned and balloon systems development by domestic industrial enterprises will be used at the Luzhsky ground of the Western Military District," the ministry said.
Drones will be used to provide on-line information to control centers to ensure objective control over troops operations during the drills. Apart from that, they will be used for reconnaissance purposes to establish coordinates of targets and transmit them to artillery control centers.
"The experience of the use of drones in Syria will be taken into account during the drills," the press service added.
A large-scale exercise Zapad-2017 began in Russia and Belarus on September 14. The drills are held at three proving grounds in Russia and six in Belarus involving 12,700 troops (7,200 Belarussian and 5,500 Russian), about 70 warplanes and helicopters, up to 680 ground vehicles, including about 250 tanks, 200 artillery pieces, multiple rocket launchers and mortars and ten warships.
The main purpose of the exercise is to improve the compatibility of command and control centers, test new documentation and let commanders of all levels practice planning and control of operations on the basis of experience gained in the latest military conflicts.
The exercise will last till September 20.