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Russia's SMF begins large-scale military drills

The Topol-M Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) is part of Russia's Strategic Force

MOSCOW (BNS): Russia's Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) has begun its annual training programme with more than 2,000 servicemen taking part in large-scale command-and-staff exercises.

"The SMF are conducting command-and-staff drills on March 10-12 in line with the annual training program," military spokesman Col. Vadim Koval said.

The SMF will practice operations control in scenarios involving conventional and nuclear warfare under guidelines outlined by Russia's new military doctrine, said a report by Ria Novosti.

"A total of more than 2,000 servicemen and 150 theater- and tactical-level command-and-control centers take part in the drills," Koval said.

Russia is hopeful of completing the modernization of SMF's command-and-control systems by 2016, in an effort to improve their ability to overcome missile defenses and increase the survivability of delivery vehicles.

The Strategic Missile Forces reportedly have a total of 538 ICBMs, including 306 SS-25 Sickle missiles, 88 SS-18 Satan and 56 SS-27 Topol-M missiles.

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