The U.S. Northern Command and joint U.S.-Canadian North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) Command said two Russian bombers violated U.S. airspace near Alaska during recent arctic war games. Disclosure by the command in charge of U.S. homeland defense followed a report in the Free Beacon quoting U.S. officials who said the Russian aircraft had threatened U.S. air space but did not cross into it and were met over the Pacific by U.S. F-15 interceptor jets.Just a couple of long range bombers; after all, how much damage could they do?
“There was a single out-of-area patrol by two Russian long range bombers which entered the Alaska ADIZ that were visually identified by NORAD fighters,” John Cornelio, chief spokesman for Northcom, said in an email response to questions about the recent war games. ADIZ is the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone, a line of airspace surrounding Alaska used by the military to monitor aircraft threats.
Cornelio, the Northcom spokesman, identified the Russian aircraft were Tu-95MS bombers that “are capable of carrying a variety of payloads, including nuclear weapons.”Alaska is pretty big and empty, a handful of nukes wouldn't do that much. Maybe melt a glacier and raise sea level.
The arctic exercises by the Russians are raising concerns among European and North American governments regarding efforts by Moscow to seek control over the resource-rich arctic territory, a strategic transit point for international bombers since the Cold War.I'm sure President Obama will be more flexible in his response to such challenges in his second term.
Defense officials believe the Russian war games simulated strikes using long-range cruise missiles against the U.S. missile defense interceptor base at Fort Greely, Alaska, as well as strikes on strategic radar systems based on the Aleutian island chain.
The maneuvers also likely practiced targeting the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline. A Russian military spokesman, Air Force Lt. Col. Vladimir Deryabin, was quoted in Russian press reports as saying the purpose of strategic exercise involved “practice destruction of enemy air defenses and strategic facilities.”