Russian Air Assault Brigade (VDV) personnel have conducted live-firing drills with the newly inducted 2B23 NONA-M1120mm semi-automatic mortars in the Southern military district, the district's spokesman colonel Igor Gorbul has revealed.
Gorbul was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying that the drills involved more than 30 firing missions at ranges between 800m and 8,000m.
The manoeuvres were conducted as part of preparations for the forthcoming Kavkaz-2012 strategic military exercises, which are scheduled to be held from 17 to 23 September 2012, in Southern Russia.
Developed by Tsniitochmash, the 2B23 NONA-M1 is a towed rifled semi-automatic breech-loaded mortar designed to offer indirect fire from any platform during day and night, as well as in all weather conditions.
Crewed by five men, the mortar enhances soldier survivability by enabling firing at enemy targets and armoured vehicles from open or protected positions, as well as on gradual reverse slopes due to its automatic breech loading capability.
The NONA-M1 can be launched from transport aircraft on parachute-equipped platforms, and is capable of using any current 120mm rifle high-explosive (HE) shells or projectiles to intercept targets that are located at a distance of up to 200m to 12,000m.
The mortars were first handed over by the company to the brigade in 2011.
Kavkaz-2012 manoeuvres in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, will be attended by approximately 8,000 Russian troops, and will involve live-firing of sea and air-launched cruise missiles, as well as anti-ship complexes, according to local media reports.
The week-long exercises, which aim to validate the military's new commands, integrated operations, and digitised command and control (C2) systems, will also witness live-firing of the Iskander tactical ballistic missile system by the Russian Ground Forces.