Russia's Northern and Baltic Fleets are beefing up their operational strength in the Barents and Baltic Seas as part of a surprise operability test that was announced in Russia's armed forces on Wednesday, the Defense Ministry reported in a statement on Thursday.

"About 80 surface vessels, submarines and support ships of the Russian Navy have left their permanent bases and started the deployment phase in the designated areas of the sea ranges in the Barents and Baltic Seas. Several groups of all-arms naval forces have been put together at the moment," it said.

While proceeding toward the deployment areas, the ships are training the organization of air defense and short-range anti-submarine defenses and the arrangement of communications.

"In the course of anti-submarine defense training, in cooperation with naval aviation, the participants are training to look for, detect, and track submarines using bottom, towed, and dunking sonar stations. The ship crews have conducted onboard damage control exercises, practicing the norms stipulated by the Surface Ship Damage Control Manual and the Submarine Damage Control Manual," it said.

As concerns the Navy, special significance during the operability test will be attached to efficiency of operational control of the naval forces and the practicing of interoperability of coastal forces, naval groups, the all-arms naval forces, and the naval aviation, the Defense Ministry said.

"The Navy's coastal forces will perform a set of duties as part of an anti-amphibious operation, during which the countering of a simulated enemy's amphibious assault landing and anti-amphibious coastal defense measures will be practiced," it said.

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