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Thread: Russia Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties

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    Lightbulb Russia Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties

    Russia Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties

    A Russian Tu-95 Bear bomber, the type of plane used on long-range sorties into areas patrolled by NATO.

    Russia's strategic bombers have resumed the Soviet Union's Cold War practice of flying long-haul missions to areas patrolled by NATO and the United States, generals said on Thursday.

    A Russian bomber flew over a U.S. military base on the Pacific island of Guam on Wednesday and "exchanged smiles" with U.S. pilots who had scrambled to track it, said Maj. Gen. Pavel Androsov, head of long-range aviation in the Russian air force.

    "It has always been the tradition of our long-range aviation to fly far into the ocean, to meet [U.S.] aircraft carriers and greet [U.S. pilots] visually," Androsov told a news conference.

    "Yesterday we revived this tradition, and two of our young crews paid a visit to the area of the [U.S. Pacific Naval Activities] base of Guam," he said.

    President Vladimir Putin has sought to make Russia more assertive in the world.

    Putin has boosted defense spending and sought to raise morale in the armed forces, which were starved of funding in the chaos that followed the fall of the Soviet Union.

    Androsov said the sortie by the two turboprop Tu-95MS bombers, from a base near Blagoveshchensk in the Far East, had lasted for 13 hours. The Tu-95, codenamed "Bear" by NATO, is Russia's Cold War icon and may stay in service until 2040.

    "I think the result was good. We met our colleagues -- fighter jet pilots from [U.S.] aircraft carriers. We exchanged smiles and returned home," Androsov said.

    U.S. officials told CNN, however, that the two bombers came no closer than 100 miles to any U.S. aircraft and no closer than 300 miles to the Navy ships, and that there was no visual contact.

    Ivan Safranchuk, Moscow office director of the Washington-based World Security Institute, said he saw nothing extraordinary in Moscow sending its bombers around the globe.

    "This practice as such never stopped, it was only scaled down because there was less cash available for that," he said. "It doesn't cost much to flex your muscles ... You can burn fuel flying over your own land or you can do it flying somewhere like Guam, in which case political dividends will be higher."

    The bombers give Russia the capability of launching a devastating nuclear strike even if the nuclear arsenals on its own territory are wiped out.

    During the Cold War, they played elaborate airborne games of cat-and-mouse with Western air forces.

    Lt. Gen. Igor Khvorov, air force chief of staff, said the West would have to come to terms with Russia asserting its geopolitical presence around the globe.

    "But I don't see anything unusual, this is business as usual ... like it is normal for the U.S. to fly from its continent to Guam or, say, the island of [Diego]Garcia," Khvorov said, referring to a remote Indian Ocean atoll used as a military base by the U.S.

    On Wednesday, young pilots of strategic bombers passed a series of tests, including missile launches. "We fired eight cruise missiles, and all hit bull's eye," Khvorov said.

    He said one crew had taken off from Engels in southwestern Russia, hit a target in the north and then flown thousands of kilometers before finally landing in the Far East.

    Engels is home to Russia's supersonic Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers, in service since 1987 and codenamed "Blackjack" by NATO while called "White Swan" by Russian pilots.

    The generals said under Putin long-range aviation was no longer hindered by a lack of fuel, the aircraft enjoyed better maintenance and the crews much higher wages -- not the least because the Kremlin leader once made a five-hour sortie as part of a "White Swan" crew.

    "The president learned about the pilots' work the hard way," Khvorov said. "This one flight yielded an awful lot."

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    Default Re: Russia Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties

    The Bastages.
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    Default Re: Russia Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties

    « August 09, 2007 | Main
    August 10, 2007

    Bears over Guam?

    [Eagle1]
    So a Russian general says Bears overflew Guam and came face to face with U.S. interceptor pilots...here, but the U.S. says "Never happened" here:
    The U.S. Pacific Fleet commander said Russian bombers never got within 300 miles (500 kilometers) of Guam this week and did not fly over the U.S. territory as a Russian air force general claimed.

    Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard disputed that U.S. fighters intercepted the bombers. The admiral said the Russian aircraft never got close enough to the Pacific island or the massive U.S. military exercises being held nearby, to warrant such action.
    "U.S. planes went to an orbit point in preparation for an intercept that never occurred because the Bears didn't get close enough," Willard said in an interview Thursday using a slang term for the Russian planes.
    I hope our pilots remember the "Hawaiian good luck sign" to pass on to any Bear pilots they might see.
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    Default Re: Russia Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties

    U.S. admiral: Russian bombers never got within 500 kilometers of Guam


    The Associated Press
    Published: August 10, 2007



    PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii: The U.S. Pacific Fleet commander said Russian bombers never got within 300 miles (500 kilometers) of Guam this week and did not fly over the U.S. territory as a Russian air force general claimed.
    Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard disputed that U.S. fighters intercepted the bombers. The admiral said the Russian aircraft never got close enough to the Pacific island or the massive U.S. military exercises being held nearby, to warrant such action.


    "U.S. planes went to an orbit point in preparation for an intercept that never occurred because the Bears didn't get close enough," Willard said in an interview Thursday using a slang term for the Russian planes.
    Earlier, a Russian air force general said a pair of Tu-95 bombers reached Guam as part of an exercise intended to demonstrate the Kremlin's resurgent military power.


    The general said the bomber's crews smiled at the pilots of the U.S. fighter jets scrambled to intercept them.
    Today in Americas


    The U.S. military is currently holding large-scale war games in waters and air space near Guam. The "Valiant Shield" drills are among the largest U.S. military exercises held anywhere in the world, involving over 22,000 troops, more than 30 ships and some 275 planes.


    Willard, a former Navy fighter pilot and aircraft carrier commander, said Russian air forces have not tried to push their way in to watch U.S. carrier training much recently. But he said it was something that happened often in the days of the Soviet Union.


    "We're very accustomed to this and it wasn't a particular surprise to us," Willard said. "It was standard operating procedure for those of us that have that experience."


    In Soviet days, U.S. fighter jets would fly out to "escort" the planes, he said. The U.S. and Russia still have procedures they follow in such circumstances to ensure the safety of their forces, he added.
    The Russian planes flew to the Pacific as part of its own exercise that saw strategic bombers flying 40 sorties and launching eight cruise missiles, said Maj. Gen. Pavel Androsov, who commands Russia's long-range bomber force.


    During the Cold War, Soviet bombers routinely flew far over the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The maneuvers came to a halt after the post-Soviet economic meltdown, but booming oil prices have allowed Russia to pour money into military budgets.


    The Kremlin also has taken an increasingly assertive posture on the international stage amid increasingly chilly relations with the United States and NATO.
    Willard said the appearance of the bombers did not affect the Valiant Shield exercises, aside from the brief diversion of the fighter jets that were put on standby.


    The admiral, who assumed command of the Pacific Fleet in May, said Guam's military training ranges offered a perfect location for a large-scale training exercises. He said holding the war games showed the importance of Asia-Pacific security to the U.S.


    "It's a demonstration of the U.S. military's commitment to the region and to the high level of readiness of our forces, even in very busy operational times," Willard said.


    U.S. military leaders said the drills were teaching sailors, airmen and Marines to understand each other's signals and terminology so they will work together seamlessly in an emergency.

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    Default Re: Russia Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties

    FOX is reporting on Russians flying over Alaska today.
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    Default Re: Russia Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties

    Russia To Revive Long-Range Bomber Patrols
    Move a show of Moscow's military power amid chilled U.S. relations

    President Vladimir Putin said Friday that he had ordered the military to resume regular long-range flights of strategic bombers, a show of Russia's resurgent military power which comes amid a chill in relations with the United States.

    Speaking after Russian and Chinese forces completed major war games exercises for the first time on Russian turf, Putin said a halt in long-range bombers' flights after the Soviet collapse had affected Russia's security as other nations had continued such missions — an oblique reference to the United States.

    "I have made a decision to resume regular flights of Russian strategic aviation," Putin said in televised remarks. "We proceed from the assumption that our partners will view the resumption of flights of Russia's strategic aviation with understanding."

    In Washington, a State Department spokesman said the U.S. was not troubled by the Russian decision.

    "We certainly are not in the kind of posture we were with what used to be the Soviet Union," said the spokesman, Sean McCormack. "It's a different era. If Russia feels as though they want to take some of these old aircraft out of mothballs and get them flying again, that's their decision."

    'A new life'

    The Russian-Chinese war games, which took place near the Ural Mountain city of Chelyabinsk, coincided with Russian air force maneuvers involving strategic bombers which ranged far over the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans.

    Putin said that 20 Russian bombers were involved in the exercise.

    "Starting today, such tours of duty would be conducted regularly and on the strategic scale," Putin said. "Our pilots have been grounded for too long, they are happy to start a new life."

    Soviet bombers routinely flew such missions to areas from which nuclear-tipped cruise missiles could be launched at the United States, but stopped in the post-Soviet economic meltdown.

    "Starting in 1992, the Russian Federation unilaterally suspended strategic aviation flights to remote areas," Putin said. "Regrettably, other nations haven't followed our example. That has created certain problems for Russia's security."

    Booming oil prices have allowed Russia to sharply increase its military spending.

    In recent years, Russia's bombers have resumed flights to areas off Norway and Iceland, as well as Russia's northeast corner, across the Bering Strait from Alaska several years ago. However, such missions have been rare, and Putin's statement signals that they would become more frequent.

    The announcement comes amid a growing chill in the U.S.-Russian relations, strained over Washington's criticism of Russia's democracy record, Moscow's strong criticism of U.S. missile defense plans and differences over global crises.

    "This is a significant change of posture of Russian strategic forces," Alexander Pikayev, a senior military analyst with the Moscow-based Institute for World Economy and International Relations, told The Associated Press. "It's a response to the relocation of NATO forces closer to Russia's western border."

    Testing boundaries

    Earlier this month, a pair of Russian Tu-95 strategic bombers approached the Pacific Island of Guam — home to a major U.S. military base — for the first time since the Cold War.

    Last month, two similar bombers briefly entered British air space but turned back after British fighter jets intercepted them. Norwegian F-16s were also scrambled when the Tu-95s headed south along the Norwegian coast in international air space.

    Russian Air Force spokesman Col. Alexander Drobyshevsky said that Friday's exercise involved Tu-160, Tu-95 and Tu-22M bombers, tanker aircraft and air radars. NATO jets were scrambled to escort the Russian aircraft over the oceans, he said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.

    As of the beginning of this year, Russia had 79 strategic bombers, according to data exchanged with the United States under the START I arms control treaty. At the peak of the Cold War, the Soviet long-range bomber fleet numbered several hundred.

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    Default Re: Russia Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties

    'Russian Bombers Getting Closer To US'
    Long-range Russian bombers are flying more often and closer to US territory, a top US commander said Tuesday, as Moscow made its latest show of military might with exercises over the North Pole.

    General Gene Renuart, Commander of North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) and US Northern Command, the agencies charged with protecting US and Canadian airspace, said that US forces would continue to monitor the activity.

    "Over the last few months the Russian air force has been flying a little bit more than we've seen in the past; certainly they're ranging farther than they have in the more recent past," Renuart said in a statement.

    "NORAD has intercepted them out over international waters, near Alaska, and the command continues to monitor all of their long range bomber flight activity, even today," he added.

    His comments came as Moscow announced that its strategic bombers had begun exercises over the North Pole and just a week after Russian planes flew within a few hundred kilometers (miles) of a US military base on the island of Guam.

    The nuclear-capable bombers in the five days of exercises starting Tuesday were to practice firing cruise missiles, navigation in the polar region and aerial refuelling manoeuvres, the Russian air force said in a statement.

    One Russian air force officer, who asked not to be identified, told AFP he expected US interceptors would make their presence felt during the exercises.

    "It is a traditional practice for military pilots to see foreign pilots come up to meet them and say to hello," he said. "The United States are aware of our exercise," he added.

    Last week, several Russian strategic bombers flew over the Pacific to near Guam and, according to a Russian general, exchanged grins with US fighter pilots.

    The incident capped a summer in which President Vladimir Putin has sought to project power far and wide, building on a rearmament programme fuelled by oil and gas revenues.

    "At every opportunity Russia is showing its return to power, including military. It's a demonstration for two audiences — domestic and for the rest of the world," Moscow-based analyst Alexander Goltz told AFP last week.

    The long-distance flight by the strategic bombers, impossible for years because of severe under-funding, also recalled an incident in July when bombers deployed near Scotland and Norway during a diplomatic row with Britain.

    And it's not just in the skies that Russia wants the world to take notice.

    On August 2 Russian explorers descended 4,261 meters (13,980 feet) under the Arctic to plant a flag on the sea bed and demonstrate in a theatrical fashion Moscow's contested claim to the mineral-rich territory under the North Pole.

    The following day, the navy's chief of staff suggested reestablishing a full-time Russian naval presence in the Mediterranean for the first time since the Soviet era.

    Meanwhile the ground army, which was badly mauled in more than a decade of fighting Chechen rebels, is getting new equipment and improved training.

    "For the Kremlin it's very important to retain at least one area where we equal the United States — and we are adamant about showing this," Goltz said.

    Russia's generals deny they are up to anything sinister and Russian political commentator Yuliya Latynina said there was nothing to fear from the recent muscle-flexing.

    "Thank God. We are showing our strength with bombers, the North Pole flag, et cetera, but we are not making war," she said.

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    Default Re: Russia Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties

    Russia Sends Out 14 Long-Haul Bombers
    RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin sent 14 bomber aircraft on patrols far beyond its own territory today, marking the permanent return to a Soviet-era practice.

    Mr Putin said the resumption of flights was a response to security threats posed by other military powers.

    "We have decided to restore flights by Russian strategic aviation on a permanent basis," Mr Putin said at joint military exercises with China and four Central Asian states in Russia's Ural Mountains.

    "Today, August 17 at 00:00 hours, 14 strategic bombers took to the air from seven airfields across the country, along with support and refuelling aircraft.

    "In 1992, Russia unilaterally ended flights by its strategic aircraft to distant military patrol areas.

    "Unfortunately, our example was not followed by everyone.

    "Flights by other countries' strategic aircraft continue and this creates certain problems for ensuring the security of the Russian Federation," Mr Putin said.

    Earlier this month Russian air force generals said bomber crews had flown near the Pacific island of Guam, where the US military has a base, forcing US aircraft to scramble into the air to track them.

    The Pentagon said the Russian aircraft had not come close enough to US ships to prompt American aircraft to react.

    Many observers said the sorties - which had been stopped due to funding shortages in the Russian military - were a sign of Russia's growing assertiveness.

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    Default Re: Russia Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties

    RAF Jets Shadow Russian Warplane Near UK Airspace
    Aug. 21, 2007

    Two Royal Air Force jets shadowed a Russian strategic bomber that approached British air space, Britain's Ministry of Defense said Tuesday.

    The incident occurred Friday, the same day that Russian President Vladimir Putin flexed his military's muscle by placing strategic bombers back on long-range patrol for the first time since the Soviet breakup.

    Britain's defense ministry issued two photographs on its Web site showing one of the two RAF Typhoon F2s flying near the Russian Tu-95 strategic bomber, nicknamed the Bear, over the North Atlantic Ocean.
    The first operational flight of the Typhoons! I'll bet that gave the Ruskies a start.

    By the way, I've got one of those photos set as my wallpaper right now. They are high-def and look good.

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    Default Re: Russia Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties

    Russia Says Bombers Not Flying With Nuclear Weapons
    Russian bombers which this month resumed their Soviet-era practice of flying long-range patrols near NATO airspace are not carrying nuclear weapons, a senior air force commander said on Monday.

    President Vladimir Putin's announcement that patrols would resume was seen by observers as part of a military build-up which the Kremlin says is needed to ensure national security.

    "These flights are being carried out without nuclear weapons on board," the commander of Russia's long-range aviation, Pavel Androsov, told reporters at the defense ministry.

    The resumption of the long-range patrols, recent tests of a new generation of intercontinental missiles and the resumption of large-scale exercises have taken place against the backdrop of new strains in ties between Russia and the West.

    The Kremlin, which accuses Washington of "unilateralism," opposes U.S. plans to set up new bases and deploy elements of its missile defense shield in central and eastern Europe.

    Russia suspects this move and NATO's overtures towards former Soviet Georgia and Ukraine -- viewed by Moscow as part of its traditional sphere of influence -- will lead to Russia's military encirclement.

    Androsov said Western alarm over the resumption of the long-range patrols had been fanned artificially.

    "We have been flying, are flying and will continue to fly," he said. "Our colleagues are not sitting on their laurels -- if you look at the pilots of the strategic aviation of America and Great Britain -- they have also not been sitting in their airbases, they are flying very intensively."

    The resumption of the patrols is likely to play well with the Russian public as the country prepares for a presidential election next March in which Putin's successor will be elected.

    Putin, Russia's most popular politician, has made the revival of the armed forces part of a mission to boost Russia after years of post-Soviet chaos.

    During his nearly eight-year rule, the armed forces have shrunk in numbers from 1.7 to 1.2 million, but their budget has been growing at a pace of up to 30 percent a year.

    Analysts say, however, that Russia spends a fraction of what the United States spends on defense.

    Androsov declined to say how many bombers Russia has but said Moscow had parity with the United States.

    "We constantly observe our friends and we hold a force at about the same level as them," he said.

    Russia has 79 strategic bombers in service including 64 Tupolev-95MC, known as Bears by NATO pilots, and 15 Tupolev-160, known as blackjacks by NATO, according to Russian media.

    "There is deep modernization (of the bomber fleet) going on," Androsov said. "We are working on a new generation (of bombers), I don't even know what it will be called."
    Yeah, sure. Because we all know how truthful the Russians are!

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    Default Re: Russia Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties

    Russia's Strategic Bombers Run Arctic Exercise
    Twelve Russian strategic bombers will take part in an Arctic exercise on Monday and Tuesday including tactical launches of cruise missiles, an air force spokesman said.

    He did not specify where the exercise was taking place but said TU-95MC bombers would take off from five air bases stretching from the Volga River city of Engels to Anadyr on the Chukotka Peninsula overlooking Alaska.

    "The planes will also practise mid-air refuelling from Il-78 transport planes," the spokesman said.

    Last month, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia's air force to resume long-range patrols by the strategic bombers, abandoned since the end of the Cold War.

    In line with his assertive foreign policy and efforts to build up the Russian armed forces, Mr. Putin has said the resumption of patrols is needed to guarantee national security.

    The air force exercise also follows a widely advertised scientific expedition to the North Pole last month with the task of finding justification for Russia's claims for a bigger slice of the Arctic zone, believed to have rich mineral resources.

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    Default Re: Russia Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties

    no bombs huh?

    Sure....
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    Default Re: Russia Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties

    And yet again... I'm getting very uneasy about this. I can only imagine how our British cousins are feeling! One of these times, it won't be an "exercise".

    UK Intercepts 8 Russian Bombers
    RAF Tornados have intercepted eight Russian bombers as they approached UK airspace.

    The Bear Tupolev-95 planes - which can carry nuclear and Cruise missiles - were detected by Nato early this morning.


    Ministry of Defence officials said four F3 fighters were scrambled from RAF Leeming in Yorkshire and RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.

    The Russian planes diverted before entering British territory.

    They headed back to their base in north Russia without incident and are still thought to be in the air, with Nato tracking their progress.

    Sky's Defence correspondent Geoff Meade said: "Diplomatic relations between Moscow and London haven't been great for some time and I think this is maybe a bit of sabre-rattling on behalf of the Russians.

    "This is the biggest formation of Russian aircraft to be challenged in this way since the Cold War and marks a stepping up of Moscow's challenge to British defences."

    He described the incident - the second of its kind in a month - as a "probing mission".

    Norway twice scrambled F-16 fighters to monitor the Russian planes as they neared - but did not breach - its airspace.

    As well as carrying missiles, the long-range Bear planes are used for surveillance.

    Last month, two of the RAF's new Typhoon Eurofighter jets were used to intercept and turn back a single Bear over the north Atlantic.

    And in July, two Russian aircraft were warned off by RAF jets as they headed towards UK airspace.

    In May, two Tornado F3s were scrambled from RAF Leuchars in Scotland to intercept a Tu-95 observing the Royal Navy exercise Neptune Warrior.

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    Default Re: Russia Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties

    UK Jets 'Chase Russian Bombers'
    The UK's Royal Air Force has launched fighter jets to intercept eight Russian military planes flying in airspace patrolled by Nato, UK officials say.

    Four RAF F3 Tornado aircraft were scrambled in response to the Russian action, the UK's defence ministry said.

    The Russian planes - said to be long-range bombers - had earlier been followed by Norwegian F16 jets.

    Russia recently revived a Cold War-era practice of flying bomber jets on long-range patrols.

    A Norwegian officer, Lt Col John Inge Oegland, told the BBC the Russian Tupolev Tu-95 Bear bombers flew in international airspace from the Barents Sea to the Atlantic, before turning back.

    Two Norwegian F-16s shadowed them on Thursday morning and another two went up later, he said.

    There have been several similar incidents in recent months, Lt-Col Oegland added.

    "Norway is following the increased Russian activity in the far north with interest," he told the BBC News website.

    He said the Russian flights were not causing alarm in Norway. "Our systems are adequate", he said, when asked whether Norway was bolstering its security in the area.

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    Default Re: Russia Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties

    In a related story....


    Russian bombers to fire cruise missiles over Arctic
    Independent.ie ^ | 09/04/07 | Staff

    President Vladimir Putin flexed Russia's military muscles once again yesterday when his government said that 12 strategic bombers would practise firing cruise missiles during a show-of-strength exercise over the Arctic.

    The giant Tupolev 95 aircraft were due to take off from five air bases, including one near the Bering Straits, separating Russia from Alaska.

    Mr Putin has made great efforts to extend Russian influence over the Arctic, which may have untapped mineral wealth. Russia has dispatched a scientific expedition to the polar ice-cap and last month a submarine dropped the national flag on the seabed beneath the North Pole.

    Monday's launch of a "tactical exercise" by the Russian air force, which is due to last for 48 hours, was the Kremlin's latest attempt to send a message of national resurgence.

    Symbolic

    But there was a symbolic ring to the occasion. The Tu-95 aircraft, which Nato codenames the 'Bear,' is an obsolescent model. Powered by four turbo-prop engines, the Bear is packed with antiquated technology dating from its first flight 53 years ago.

    The long-range aircraft was originally designed to compete with the American B-29 Superfortress -- the Second World War bomber responsible for dropping the atomic bomb in 1945.

    Today, the Bear is designed to steer clear of hostile air space and fire cruise missiles at targets hundreds of miles away.

    This "stand off" role is the only way the Bear can be used as a strike aircraft because the lumbering, propeller-driven giant cannot defend itself against even the weakest air forces.

    The only weapons the Bear carries for its own safety are machine guns mounted on rotating turrets of the kind that German bombers used against Spitfires during the Battle of Britain 67 years ago.

    Until this year, Russia's armed forces were in such a parlous state that they could not even conduct strategic patrols with Bears.

    The Russian air force halted this regular feature of the Cold War in 1992 in order to save money.

    Mr Putin's resumption of strategic patrols -- even with obsolescent aircraft -- has echoes of the Cold War when Soviet bombers and Nato fighters regularly fenced over the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

    Last month, a Bear ventured towards British air space and was intercepted by two Eurofighter Typhoons, which belonged to the RAF.

    Parliamentary elections will take place in Russia in December and a new president will succeed Mr Putin next year. The Kremlin's increasingly assertive foreign policy is designed to show the Russian people that their country is a global player once again.
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    Default Re: Russia Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties

    Canadian Top Guns, Russians Tangoed This Week
    Canadian fighter jets have scrambled as recently as this week to intercept Russian bombers flying over the Arctic, says the new commander of this country's air force.

    CF-18 Hornets met the Tupolev-95 Bear bombers outside Canadian airspace, Lt.-Gen. Angus Watt told The Chronicle Herald's editorial board Friday.

    "It's not exactly a new challenge; it's an old challenge that has returned," Lt.-Gen. Watt said Friday.

    The recent encounter took place near Inuvik, N.W.T., inside what the military dubs its air defence identification zone.

    "It's where we pay attention to people coming in," Lt.-Gen. Watt said. "They were never in our airspace. They were never in our sovereign territory."

    But the Russian aircraft were within visual range of the Canuck fighter pilots during their meeting, something that has become a more frequent occurrence lately.

    "We take pictures," said Lt.-Gen. Watt, who began his military career as a Sea King pilot at 12 Wing Shearwater.

    In what seems like an echo of the Cold War, the Russians have also been testing British and U.S. air defences more frequently than they have since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russian bombers never stopped flying up to the Canadian Arctic, but the patrols had greatly diminished in the past 15 years.

    "We have responded in the traditional way to Russian incursions of our airspace by meeting them as they enter our airspace with our fighters to escort them through to show them that we're paying attention," Lt.-Gen. Watt said.

    Despite the apparent flexing of Russian military muscle, don't expect a return to the icy animosity that once existed between the Kremlin and countries belonging to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

    "It's a different world. We're not going back to the Cold War," Lt.-Gen. Watt said.

    "But in the end, it does, I think, prove the point that we can't take anything for granted."

    On Thursday, British jets intercepted eight Russian nuclear-capable bombers heading for Britain — Russia's largest show of strength since President Vladimir Putin ordered strategic air patrols to resume last month.

    Col. Alexander Drobyshevsky, a spokesman for Russia's air force, reportedly said that 14 long-range bombers began missions over the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans on Wednesday night.

    Canada has been part of the North American Aerospace Defence Command, or Norad, for 50 years.

    "We've been doing intercepts of the bombers for almost the whole time," Lt.-Gen. Watt said. "It's just a recent increase in the frequency."

    Canada is not being "inundated" by the Russian bomber flights, he said. "It's just the odd probe."

    The long-range Russian Bear bombers — a 1960s design — are usually the only aircraft that make the flights, Lt.-Gen. Watt said.

    "You sometimes get other airplanes, but they need a lot of aerial refuelling, and we haven't seen that since the Cold War era," he said.

    The military is adopting a wait-and-see attitude.

    "We need a bigger sample size," Lt.-Gen. Watt said. "A couple of missions doesn't make a trend. And over the course of the next few years, we'll see what their posture is. But on the basis of a few missions, we just react as we always have."

    'It's not exactly a new challenge; it's an old challenge that has returned.'

  17. #17
    Forum General Brian Baldwin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Russia Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties

    What's good for the goose.... We should stealth in over Moscow and open up the aircraft signature for a moment and shut it back down. Then wait for them to "attempt" to stealth in to our airspace and shoot their asses down.
    Brian Baldwin

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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Russia Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties

    RAF Jets Intercept Eight Russian Bombers
    The RAF carried out its biggest operation to protect British airspace since the Cold War when four Tornados were scrambled to intercept eight Russian bombers approaching over the Atlantic.

    An early warning aircraft and a VC-10 tanker were also launched to support the British fighters responding to apparent sabre-rattling by President Vladimir Putin.

    The Russian aircraft, all Tupolev 95s, codenamed "Bears" by NATO, turned back before reaching British airspace.

    This was the biggest deployment of Russian bombers to probe British air defences since the Cold War. Although the ''Bear'' is obsolescent, dating from the 1950s, Russia uses it for long-range reconnaissance missions, designed to test an opponent's reaction time.

    Flush with oil wealth, Russia has become increasingly assertive in recent months. President Putin has consciously revived memories of the Cold War by sending bombers to test the air defences of NATO countries, notably Norway and America as well as Britain.

    In Thursday's incident Norway's air force was the first to intercept the Russian formation over the Barents Sea.

    Shadowed by Norwegian F-16 fighters, the ''Bears'' continued their patrol and entered airspace over the Atlantic which Britain is responsible for protecting.

    The RAF keeps four fighters - either Tornado F3s or Eurofighter Typhoons - on "quick reaction alert" to intercept intruders, which yesterday launched from RAF Leeming in Yorkshire.

    A Ministry of Defence spokesman said the Tornadoes were scrambled at first light.

    Because of the size of the Russian formation and the need to "monitor the air picture", a Boeing E3 Sentry early warning aircraft, capable of providing long-range radar coverage and guidance for the fighters, was launched from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

    The distance the RAF jets would have to travel and the time they might spend shadowing the Russian bombers was unclear. So a VC-10 tanker, able to provide air-to-air refuelling, also took off from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.

    By sunrise, four of the jets that Britain relies on to guard its airspace were heading towards the North Atlantic. But an MoD spokesman denied that the country was left undefended for any period.

    ''Once the first two aircraft are launched, we stand up another two, we arm them and we get the crews ready. We can do that in pretty short order. So for every two that go up, we make sure that another two are ready," he said.

    The Tornados intercepted the Russian aircraft over the Atlantic, using procedures developed during the Cold War.

    They shadowed the ''Bears'', carefully tracking their progress. The MoD said that all the Russian aircraft turned back before reaching British airspace.

    "People may believe this is all pretty simple. But in fact there's a lot to this and that's why we have to be very well practised and coordinated," said an RAF officer.

    The incident is the latest in a campaign of muscle-flexing by the Kremlin designed to put pressure on both the West and Russia's neighbours.

    The former Soviet Republics of Georgia and Ukraine, have come under direct pressure from the Kremlin.

    Both have seen their crucial supplies of natural gas disrupted after defying Russia.

    But a British official said that despite recent tensions, Russia was still seen as "key international partner".

    RAF Tornados fact sheet

    Roles: Long-distance patrol and air defence. Equipped with external fuel pods for long-range missions

    Crew: Two (plot and weapons officer)

    Max speed: Mach 2.2

    Max Altitude: 50,000ft

    Weapons: Sidewinder and AMRAAM air-to-air missiles. ASRAAM missiles. Mauser 27mm cannon.

    Developed: from original Tornado GR1 attack aircraft in the late 1970s

    Entered service: 1986, replacing the RAF's Lightning and Phantom fighters

    Replaced: by Typhoon F2 Eurofighter tornado firepower

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    Creepy Ass Cracka & Site Owner Ryan Ruck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Russia Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties

    Oh yeah... Meant to comment on this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Donaldson View Post
    In a related story....


    Russian bombers to fire cruise missiles over Arctic
    Independent.ie ^ | 09/04/07 | Staff
    I love these morons who know nothing about anything that are pooh-poohing the Bears as "antiquated", "obsolescent", or a competitor to the B-29 ().

    It needs to be said that none of these Bears that are flying are flying with the same 1950s avionics or innards just as none of our B-52s, which are just as old as the Bears, are.

    I especially love the claim that it was meant to compete with the B-29 when the B-29 was removed from service by the time the Bears were entering service. In fact, for them to even be in service at that time, we had to bring them out of mothball for the Korean War. But, after all, I'm sure the contra-rotating turboprops were definitely equal competition to the B-29s radial engines.

    No, a more accurate comparison is the Bear to the B-52. They have similar stand-off cruise missile platform roles, they have similar top speeds, and they are similar in age. In fact, the Bear has the edge in range and loiter time because it is prop driven and, all the while it maintains near equal speed to the BUFF.

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    Default Re: Russia Resumes Nuke Bomber Sorties

    There's nothing wrong with the Bear bombers... Look at the Buffs. Still in service, being constantly upgraded and refurbished, and can ... devastate, literally destroy their targets. Backed up by our various fighter jets, we can do some severe, irrepairable damage to someone with them.

    And, with cruise missiles, you do not have to get all that close to enemy territory. Same with the Bear's. They don't have to enter US Air Space, nor anyone else's for that matter to lauch ALCMs, complete with GPS guidance systems, and nuclear war heads.

    And if anyone BELIEVES that Russia isn't flying those planes with nukes on them, you know, I have a bridge in New York I'd love to see you own....
    Libertatem Prius!


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