Moscow's Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports that Russia's strategic bombers and nuclear submarines "will deliver hypothetical nuclear strikes on the U.S. and Britain, while locating and destroying aircraft-carrier groups of the U.S. Navy."
The massive air, sea and land maneuvers are being conducted in the wake of America's stunning victory over Iraq, a long time client state of Russia.
The paper said the exercises are taking place because, "Russian military leaders have learned a lesson from the Iraq war, and intend to show the U.S. and its allies their determination to repel any potential threat coming from the West."
The Russian military, in plans drawn up at the request of President Vladmir Putin, argues that the only way Russia can deal with an escalating regional conflict with the U.S., would be to employ nuclear weapons.
Though Russia's military has been considerably downzied since the end of the Cold War, and its conventional forces hold little weight against a modern, equipped army, Russia has continued to invest heavily in strategic and tactical nuclear weapons.
Sometime during the 90s, Russia attained nuclear superiority over the U.S. While Russia's large, strategic nuclear weapons have remained in parity with the U.S., Russia's tactical nuclear arsenal has been estimated to include between 20,000 to 40,000 weapons.
At the same time Russia has continued its nuclear buildup, the U.S. has virtually destroyed its arsenal of tactical nuclear warheads. Under orders from the Bush administration, the U.S. has also been moving to further reduce the U.S. strategic arsenal. Currently, the nation's most modern fleet of ICBM, the MX missiles, are being destroyed.
The Russian military exercises show a desire by the Russian military to deal with the huge technological lead U.S. conventional forces have, demonstrated by Operation Iraqi Freedom.
According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the Russian exercises "will be linked with destroying the U.S. satellite group in order to neutralize the NAVSTAR global navigation system, the Keyhole optoelectronic intelligence satellites, and the Lacross radio-locating intelligence satellites."
The paper said these maneuvers, "Under actual conditions of a war this would 'blind' the Pentagon and does not let the U.S. use high-precision weapons against Russian military groups."
So far, the exercises are to include Four Tu-160 and nine Tu-95MS strategic bombers, 12 Tu-22M3 long-range bombers, and four Il-78 flying tankers will be involved in the maneuvers on May 17-18.
The maneuvers are of a "global scale," the paper said.
Major-General Igor Khvorov, commander of the 37th air army of the High Commander-in-Chief, said that the official objective of the exercise is to polish cooperation between the long-range aviation, the Navy, and other branches of the army in the western, eastern, northern, and southern regions of the Russian Federation, and over the world's oceans. This emphasizes a global scale of the impending maneuvers.
Submarines of the Northern and Pacific fleets will launch ballistic missiles. Nuclear strategic and multi-purpose submarines, surface warships of different types, coastal missile and anti-aircraft units, and the missile-carrying, pursuit, and anti-submarine aviation will be involved in the exercise.
The paper also noted that Russian warships sent to the Arabian Sea to take part in an exercise with the Indian Navy will support strategic units. They will find and destroy U.S. Los Angeles class submarines and deliver missile strikes at enemy warships.