(Reuters) – Russia will quickly deploy its latest howitzers to its Northern Navy District which borders Finland and Norway, the top of the Rostec state defence conglomerate stated in remarks revealed on Wednesday.

The testing of the brand new Coalition-SV self-propelled artillery items has been accomplished and their mass manufacturing has already began, Sergei Chemezov, the top of Rostec informed the state RIA information company in an interview.

The primary pilot batch might be delivered by the tip of 2023, he stated.

“I believe they may seem there (within the Northern Navy District) quickly, since howitzers of this class are wanted to supply a bonus over Western artillery fashions by way of firing vary,” Chemezov stated.

In 2021, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin modified the standing of the Russian Northern Fleet, whose zone of accountability was mainly the Russian Arctic, to the Northern Navy District, incorporating into it additionally the Murmansk area, which shares borders with Finland and Norway.

Since launching a full-scale invasion in Ukraine in February 2022, Moscow has accused “the collective West” of staging a proxy warfare with Russia and warned that Moscow will construct up forces at its western borders following Finland’s accession to the U.S.-led NATO alliance.

Earlier in December, Russia’s TASS state information company reported that single Coalition-SV howitzers had already been deployed to the frontline in Ukraine.

The howitzers, with a spread of as much as 70 kilometres (44 miles), are geared up with a contemporary 2A88 cannon of 152 mm caliber with a firing charge of greater than 10 rounds per minute, in addition to a contemporary system for automating the processes of gun pointing, goal choice and navigation, in line with TASS.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Enhancing by Stephen Coates)

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