MOSCOW, November 9 (RIA Novosti)
Russian and Italian warships completed Saturday the joint Ioniex-2013 exercise in the Ionian Sea, a spokesman for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet said.
“Russian frigate Smetlivy as well as Italian destroyer Durand de la Penne and the frigate Espero returned today to the Ionian Sea port of Taranto after completing the active phase of the Ioniex-2013 exercise,” Capt. 1st Rank Vyacheslav Trukhachev said.
The active phase of the exercise on November 7-9 included artillery drills with live ammunition firing, air defense and anti-submarine warfare drills.
The warships successfully detected and “destroyed” an Italian diesel-electric submarine, repelled a simulated attack by two Italian Sea Harrier naval fighter jets, and practiced joint navigation and communications procedures, the Russian official said.
The Smetlivy, a Kashin-class frigate, will return to its mission as part of Russia’s permanent task force in the eastern Mediterranean, established late last year “to protect Russia’s interests in the region,” Trukhachev said.
The Ioniex-2013 exercise began Monday with a planning and coordination phase.
Russia and Italy have been conducting Ioniex drills since 2004 as part of a cooperation program between their navies. The Smetlivy participated in the drills in 2011 and 2012.