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The Russians are coming. The Russians are coming — again.
And they’re getting closer.
Week - Pair - Bombers - Tu-95 - Weapons
Twice so far this week a pair of long-range Russian bombers, Tu-95’s capable of carrying nuclear weapons, have flown close to the Alaska coast. The first time they were 100 miles out. The second time about 36 miles. The first time the U.S. scrambled fighter jets to check them out. The second time they just sent up an electronics warfare AWACS plane to monitor their movements and check for other low-flying Russian craft.
There’s actually much more to these flights than meets the eye. For now, it’s all a serious game, despite Secy. of State Rex Tillerson describing relations with Russia now as at a low point.
Aircraft - Spy - Ships - US - Coasts
Russian aircraft and spy ships have cruised along both U.S. coasts, around Japan and Britain. Back in 2015 Russian President Vladimir Putin phoned then President Obama, purportedly to wish him a happy Independence Day. At the same time Russian warplanes were flying within 40 miles of California coastal communities in a kind of fly-by middle finger.
But guess what, the U.S. does the same thing. Most recently U.S. recon patrol and bombers flew over international waters close to China’s disputed man-made islands in the South China Sea.
Goal - Sides - Course - Point - Flights
One goal for all sides, of course, is to make the point, We’re here and we’re watching. The flights are also valuable real-life training opportunities against potential enemies.
The planes can read the other side’s radar, see how far out they are detected, how long it takes for any response to become airborne.
Wartime - Flights - Territory - Enemy - Complacency
In wartime, such flights over or near enemy territory can be decoys to lull an enemy into complacency. Seventy-four years...
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