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12 Jan, 2009 05:41

Northern fleet complete exercise with Turkish navy

For the first time, a part of Russia's northern fleet is conducting training exercises with their Turkish colleagues in the Mediterranean Sea.

The naval pilots and ground crew will be put through rigorous tests where mistakes are simply not an option.

“Every time we double check everything, because if anything happens at sea there's no chance of making an emergency landing like on the ground,” said Major Sergey Nagaichenko, a technician taking part in the drill.

Only after everything has been cleared, are pilots given the green light to fly the 11-tonne helicopters.

They work hand in hand with their Turkish counterparts conducting simulated search and rescue operations at sea.

In another exercise, a Turkish vessel is out of fuel and water. The Russian warship Admiral Levchenko's job is to respond and assist its stricken colleague.

Although the exercise does not involve flying at high speeds, the close proximity of the two ships and the need for them to travel at exactly the same speed on parallel courses makes any mistake unacceptable.

In the end everything goes smoothly. The connection is established, the supplies are transferred and even the sailors get a chance to exchange small souvenirs.

“The Turkish navy is very strong and has deep traditions. We’ve sharpened our inter-operational ability with them. And now we are ready to tackle almost any task together,” said ship commander Sergey Okhrenchuk.

After the manoeuvres the Turkish ships head home and the group from Russia's northern fleet continues its voyage, doing its duty in the waters of the Mediterranean.