Putin Pranks Obama Again This 4th Of July? US Jets Intercept Nuclear-Capable Russian Bombers.
“These are not unprecedented flights, but we are postured to respond, whether Alaska or California,” NORAD spokesman Michael Kucharek told Fox News.
The Air Force sent fighter jets to intercept two pairs of long-range Russian bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons off the coast of Alaska and California Saturday. At 10:30 a.m. EST July 4, the Air Force scrambled two F-22 jets from Alaska to intercept two Tupolev Tu-95 long-range strategic bombers flying off the coast, reported Fox News. At 11:00 a.m. EST the Air Force scrambled two F-15s from an undisclosed location to intercept a pair of Tu-95 Bear bombers off the coast of California.
It is not known for certain whether the bombers did or did not enter U.S. airspace. It is claimed that the bombers did not enter U.S. airspace at any point, senior defense officials told Fox News; but they did not say how close the bombers were to the coast. A spokesman for NORAD did not confirm whether the bombers were armed. Russian President Vladimir Putin called President Barack Obama Saturday to congratulate him on July 4.
Similar incidents have occurred in recent summers. When Russian nuclear-capable bombers were intercepted July 4, 2012, a defense official called the move “Putin’s Fourth of July Bear greeting to Obama.”
These intercepts have been taking place for at least the past several years.
Here is another video about a 2014 intercept.
It is really amazing how much tensions have increased among major and emerging global powers over the last year, and this reality has manifested itself in newsmaking air-to-air intercepts now occurring regularly around the globe.
Although Russian heavy bombers are known to wander around the world from time to time on long-range training missions, which are also used as a show of force and as a reminder of Russia’s capabilities, flights off coast of the Continental US are a bit more rare.
Russian long-range military aviation flights around NATO and other US allied nations territory have been fairly commonplace since Vladimir Putin resurrected such missions after being largely curtailed after the fall of the Soviet Union. Flights along Eastern Europe’s ex-soviet states, Northern European countries, the UK, Guam, the Korean Peninsula and Japan have rapidly increased since the new year. This is most likely a product of Russia’s chilling relations with the West as a result of Russia’s involvement in the turmoil in Ukraine and their seizing of the Crimean Peninsula.
Military displays of this sort should in no way shape or form be dismissed and although these flights don’t pose any direct harm to anyone, intercepts are costly and tie up valuable resources, not to mention any air-to-air confrontation is fraught with some risk. Also, the truth is that a lumbering TU-95, although it may be based on a 60+ year old design, can still carry high-yield nuclear tipped cruise missiles, some of which have near hypersonic speed. This is why any Bear in your backyard must be closely watched, because if it were to suddenly turn violent, no matter how low the odds, you really do need to be ready to shoot-to-kill as you may not live through the alternative outcome.
A Military Admiral say the U.S. is poised to respond.