March 10, 0:11
SEVASTOPOL, March 19 (Itar-Tass) – The structure of the Command of a Russian rapid response naval force, which is being created for permanent operations in the Mediterranean Sea, will be formed finally in the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet before the end of this year.
The command system of the Russian rapid response naval force will be tested in action during the inter-fleet naval exercises for the first time in 2014, a source in the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
“The forming of the Command of a Russian rapid response naval force was launched. The working group was formed from the officers of the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet and the 30th brigade of surface ships. The archive documents of the 5th Soviet Mediterranean rapid response naval squadron, its staff structure are being examined, the experience of operations of the warships of the Black Sea Fleet at inter-fleet naval exercises was being analyzed last January. The council of veterans of the 5th squadron also joined this work,” the source said.
“Before the end of the year a new structure will be finally formed and in the summer of 2014 it will be tested in action for the first time at inter-fleet naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea,” he noted.
“A full-fledged Russian rapid response naval force should be completely formed by 2015. By this year we hope to practice completely the command of the naval force and the most important thing is to put new warships into service of this naval force,” a source in the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet said. He noted that, meanwhile, those naval forces, which were participating in the last January inter-fleet naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea, namely the missile cruiser Moskva, the coast guard ship Smetlivy, large landing ships and auxiliary ships, will be included in the rapid response naval force from the Black Sea Fleet,” the source said.
“About 5-6 warships should be deployed on the permanent basis in the Mediterranean Sea, the command of the naval force should be made through the Command of the Black Sea Fleet,” Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Admiral Viktor Chirkov said on March 17.
Admiral Chirkov stated earlier in the situation centre of the Russian Defence Ministry that the Russian Navy already began to fulfil the tasks to form a rapid response naval force for the operations on the permanent basis in the Mediterranean Sea. The chief commander noted then that the High Command of the Russian Navy is analysing the problems to form this naval force. “For the command of the rapid response naval force the staff, which will be assigned in the Mediterranean Sea, was prepared,” the admiral said.
The 5th rapid response squadron of the Soviet Union Navy performed combat tasks in the Mediterranean war theatre during the Cold War. The US Navy’s Sixth Fleet was the main rival of the Soviet naval squadron. This Soviet naval squadron was disbanded on December 31, 1992, a year after the breakup of the Soviet Union.