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    Russia Air, Ground Forces to conduct joint drills in April

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    Units of Russia's Air Force and Ground Forces will conduct a joint exercise in the country's Caspian region in April 2008, a senior military official said on Tuesday.

    MOSCOW, January 29 (RIA Novosti) - Units of Russia's Air Force and Ground Forces will conduct a joint exercise in the country's Caspian region in April 2008, a senior military official said on Tuesday.

    "The exercise will focus on rehearsing command and control of an Air Force and Air Defense Forces combined-arms formation" in what the military terms the Central Asian strategic sector, said Lt. Gen. Valery Stytsenkov, head of the Air Force Combat Training Directorate.

    He said units will also practice interoperability and teamwork with aviation, missile defense, antiaircraft, and electronic warfare assets of the Air Force, the Air Defense Forces, and the Ground Forces.

    The general said preparations were under way, exercise grounds were being tested and reconnoitered, and that relevant paperwork was being processed.

    He said the exercise will cover an extensive area, including the Kapustin Yar and Ashuluk training grounds, both in south Russia's Astrakhan region near the Caspian Sea.

    Stytsenkov said the first such exercise was conducted in 2007 after a long hiatus.

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