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Russia, Egypt drill air defense with F-16 fighters in Mediterranean

June 11, 2015, 20:22 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russia and Egypt are holding their first-ever joint naval exercises in a bid to strengthen ties amid Moscow’s confrontation with the West
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© AP Photo/Foley

MOSCOW, June 11. /TASS/. Navy men of Egypt and Russia during the Bridge of Friendship-2015 joint exercises in the Mediterranean Sea have conducted a drill to organize air defense that involved the F-16 jet fighters, Russian Navy spokesman Captain First Rank Igor Dygalo said on Thursday.

According to him, the exercise’s Joint Staff in Alexandria has conducted an analysis of the first stage of the exercise’s active phase.

Russia and Egypt are holding their first-ever joint naval exercises, Russia’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday, in a bid to strengthen ties amid Moscow’s confrontation with the West. "The active phase of joint Russian-Egyptian naval exercises called The Bridge of Friendship-2015 started today in the Mediterranean Sea near the shores of Egypt," the ministry said in a statement.

"According to the exercise joint command, crew members of the two countries’ warships drilled manoeuvring in column at the exit from the naval base, successfully conducted an exercise to repel an attack of a small target, and in accordance with the set parameters and standards conducted a joint air defense drill in the area of operations with the involvement of the F-16 fighters of the Egyptian Air Force," the Navy spokesman said.

In addition, during the maneuvers navy men from the Moskva cruiser boarded the Egyptian frigate Sharm el Sheikh to drill an inspection of "a suspicious" vessel. "The Egyptian navy men for their part inspected the Samum hovercraft, after which Russian and Egyptian crews drilled cargo transfer operations with the use of a helicopter," said the Russian Navy spokesman.

In addition to the Moskva and Samum ships, Russia is represented in the maneuvers by the Alexander Shabalin large landing ship, the Ivan Bubnov tanker and the MB-31 seagoing tug. The Egyptian side is represented by the Taba and Sharm el Sheikh frigates, the April 25 and June 18 missile boats, the Shalatin tanker, two fighter jets and a helicopter.

The Moskva cruiser is the exercise flagship housing the mobile headquarters. Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Vice Admiral Valery Kulikov and chief of the Egyptian Navy’s combat training department Lieutenant General Mahmud Mufarrah are in command of the drills.

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