By Ria Novosti
The Russian and the United States navies began joint anti-terrorism exercises near the Mariana Islands on Thursday, a Russian Pacific Fleet spokesman said.
The Russian task force is led by the Varyag guided missile cruiser and also includes the Irkut tanker and a salvage tugboat.
“On Thursday, October 13, a Pacific Fleet task force completed its business visit to the Apra Harbor and along with the U.S. Navy task force headed to high seas for the Pacific Eagle-2011 joint exercise,” Capt. 1st Rank Roman Martov said.
On Thursday the U.S. and Russian ships will train joint maneuvering and exchange of light signals.
“Early on October 14, the active phase of the exercise will begin. It will include numerous scenarios, including an operation to liberate a vessel seized by terrorists,” Martov said.
After the drills the Russian task force will pay a visit to Vancouver, Canada and return to Vladivostok in early December.
The Varyag is a Slava class missile cruiser, designed as a surface strike ship with some anti-air and ASW capability. The sixteen SS-N-12 Sandbox nuclear-capable supersonic anti-ship missiles are mounted in four pairs on either side of the superstructure, giving the ship a distinctive appearance.
NATO experts had dubbed Russian combat ships of this class “the killer of aircraft carriers,” as they can launch 1,000 kg of high-explosives or a tactical nuclear warhead to a range of 300 miles.