Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Guam I.

This is coolbert: "Guam - - Where America's Day Begins."

What is one to make of this headline??

"Russia sparks Cold War scramble"

Russian TU-95 aircraft "buzz" the island of Guam!!

"The Tu-95 pilots exchanged smiles with their US counterparts
Russian bombers have flown to the US Pacific island of Guam in a manoeuvre reminiscent of the Cold War era."

However, consider this:

"Update: A US General, on the other hand, says that the Russian planes didn’t even get within 500 kilometers (300 miles) of Guam: 'U.S. planes went to an orbit point in preparation for an intercept that never occurred because the Bears didn’t get close enough'."

This is like something from the Cold War. An ancient but still potent-with-the-right-missile-aboard Russian TU-95 aircraft attempts to do a surveillance of American military assets somewhere in the world. Testing defenses and conducting reconnaissance.

The TU-95 "Bear" was once active all over the oceans of the world. Is primarily [?] a naval aviation reconnaissance aircraft. Flew on this occasion from Russian bases far to the north of Guam. Flying 3,000 miles one-way from some base in the Russian Far East to pay a visit to where "America's Day Begins"?

"Bear" at one time would sortie from Cuba, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Somalia, Vietnam, on missions to locate and intercept U.S. aircraft carriers. I worked with a man who at one time in the 1970's was stationed on the U.S.S Midway. Having a "Bear" perform a fly-by of the Midway at close range was not a common occurrence but not that uncommon either.

What is this all about? Awash in petro-dollars, Russian is once again beginning to flex military muscles and reassert itself on the world-stage? Has intentions that go far beyond the borders of Russia itself?

During the last two years, "Bears" have been surprisingly active:

* "On September 29, 2006 NORAD scrambled Canadian CF-18s from CFB Cold Lake in Central Alberta and American F-15s out of an airbase in Alaska to intercept 'a number of the Russian Tu-95 Bear heavy bombers participating in an annual Russian air force exercise near the coast of Alaska and Canada.' This launch was a result of the bombers penetrating the North America's Air Defense Identification Zone."

* "In May 2007, the Royal Air Force scrambled two Tornado F3 fighters from RAF Leuchars in Scotland to intercept a Tu-95 observing the Royal Navy exercise Neptune Warrior."

* "In July 2007, two Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16's (from Bodo, Norway) and subsequently two RAF Tornados F3's (from RAF Leeming, England) intercepted two Tu-95s as they allegedly made their way down the Norwegian coast towards Scotland."

And, of course, the latest incident.

* "In August 2007, two Tu-95s flew towards the US base on Guam, where they were intercepted by US fighter planes."

Everyone will say that the "Bear" is so antiquated an aircraft that these flights are of no significance ["The Tu-95 is still in service, as of 2007, and expected to remain so with the Russian Air Force until at least 2040"]. What if, however, the Russians were able to build a hypersonic, nuclear-capable, in-mid-course-maneuverable missile, air-launchable from a "Bear". Operate in a stand-off mode as does a Short Range Attack Missile [SRAM] from a B-52. New and formidable capability for an old fashioned aircraft ["Bear"].

I wonder what Ion Pacepa has to say about this? 6,000 former KGB agents occupy governmental positions in Russia? Including right now, the Russian Presidency!

"A leopard does not change it's spots??!!"


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