The Laros 2022 exercise has kicked off today, marking the third joint tank exercise between the Russian Federation and Laos. The opening ceremony was held near Vientiane at the Ban Peng training grounds, where the first Laros exercise in 2019 was held. However, it seems the Russian contingent this year was much smaller than the 500 Russian troops that participated in Laros 2019 and 2021, most likely due to the war in Ukraine.
In 2021 the drills were held in Russia for the first time in the Primorsky Region at the Sergeevsky training ground. In those drills, which lasted from August 15th-Augst 21st, the Russian and Lao tank units concentrated on anti-terror capabilities such as maneuvering in smokescreens, anti-UAV operations, and joint air operations including Su-25s, Su-24s, and Ka-52s. However, in the opening ceremony this year, it did not seem that similar aircraft are being provided, also most likely due to the war in Ukraine.
In August, 2022, Russian state-owned media reported that the Lao and Russian Ministries of Defense agreed on the terms of the exercise and that it would be held in Laos.
According to Russian state-owned media which covered the ceremony: “The Lao People’s Armed Forces (LPAF) is the armed forces of Laos (officially the Lao People’s Democratic Republic) and the institution of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, who are charged with protecting the country. The army of 29,100 is equipped with 30 main battle tanks. The army marine section, equipped with 16 patrol craft, has 600 personnel. Militia self-defense forces number approximately 100,000 organized for local defense. The small arms utilized mostly by the Laotian Army are the Soviet AKM assault rifle, PKM machine gun, Makarov PM pistol, and the RPD light machine gun.”