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  • Russia sparks Cold War scramble

    Russia sparks Cold War scramble

    BBC

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

    Two Tu-95 turboprops flew this week to Guam, home to a big US military base, Russian Maj Gen Pavel Androsov said.

    They "exchanged smiles" with US pilots who scrambled to track them, he added.

    The sorties, believed to be the first since the Cold War ended, come as Russia stresses a more assertive foreign policy, correspondents say.

    The flight is part of a pattern of more expansive Russian military operations in recent weeks, says BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus.

    Old practice

    Gen Androsov said the strategic bombers had flown 13 hours from their base in the Russian Far East during the exercise.

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

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

    "I think the result was good. We met our colleagues - fighter jet pilots from [US] aircraft carriers. We exchanged smiles and returned home," he added.

    During the Cold War, Soviet bombers regularly flew long-haul missions to areas patrolled by Nato and the US.

    The bombers have the capability of launching a nuclear strike with the missiles they carry.
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  • #2
    Russian Bomber Revives Long-Haul Mission

    Russian Bomber Revives Long-Haul Mission
    By DMITRY SOLOVYOV, REUTERS, MOSCOW
    DefenseNews

    MOSCOW — Russia’s strategic bombers have resumed their Cold War practice of flying long-haul missions to areas patrolled by NATO and the U.S., top generals said Aug. 9.

    A Russian bomber flew over a U.S. military base on the Pacific island of Guam on Aug. 8 and “exchanged smiles” with U.S. pilots who 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.”

    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, lasted 13 hours. The Tu-95, code-named “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.

    Cold War cat-and-mouse

    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 forces 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.

    Young pilots of strategic bombers passed a series of tests Aug. 8, 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 landing in the Far East.

    Engels is home to Russia’s supersonic Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers, in service since 1987 and code-named “Blackjack” by NATO while called “White Swan” by Russian pilots.

    The generals said that, under Putin, long-range aviation no longer needs fuel, enjoys better maintenance and personnel receive higher wages — not the least because the Kremlin leader once made a five-hour sortie as part of a Tu-160 crew.

    “The president learned about the pilots’ work the hard way,” Khvorov said. “This one flight yielded an awful lot.”
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    • #3
      I can only wonder what American readiness is like after being stationed in Guam for 6 months or so. What can one do in Guam other than get loaded to the gills and pass out on a beach?

      "Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a ugly brawl."
      --Frederick II, King of Prussia

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      • #4
        This is the 'Iranisation' or 'North Korea-nisation' of Russia - that is to say, to make a bloody nuisance of themselves, threaten its neighbours, rattle its sabres, in an attempt to punch above their actual strategic weight by threatening to disrupt the world order. It's a desperate tactic of a weak power trying to get attention and some 'respect'.

        It's sad to see a formerly great power reducing itself to such tactics.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Ogukuo72 View Post
          This is the 'Iranisation' or 'North Korea-nisation' of Russia - that is to say, to make a bloody nuisance of themselves, threaten its neighbours, rattle its sabres, in an attempt to punch above their actual strategic weight by threatening to disrupt the world order. It's a desperate tactic of a weak power trying to get attention and some 'respect'.

          It's sad to see a formerly great power reducing itself to such tactics.
          Nope, Russia is simply doing what it has to do to assert its position in the world order, which is not the position of a weak power.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Imperial View Post
            Nope, Russia is simply doing what it has to do to assert its position in the world order, which is not the position of a weak power.
            We each have different perspectives. I respect that.

            Russia can continue to throw its tantrums, but its becoming increasingly irrelevant in world affairs.

            China and India. Now, those are rising powers.

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            • #7
              Isn't it reassuring to know, that the Russian airforce after all this time, still knows how to find an island that hasn't gone anywhere lately
              Life is change. Built models for decades.
              Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
              I didn't for a long time either.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by MonsterZero View Post
                I can only wonder what American readiness is like after being stationed in Guam for 6 months or so. What can one do in Guam other than get loaded to the gills and pass out on a beach?
                Study the culture, get to know the people, learn their language, learn to sail, go deep sea fishing, learn scuba, whine like a baby, get drunk on the beach, call the US and talk to Mommy, go surfing, act like a man, make friends, volunteer at a local hospital, help rebuild a kindergarten, start a library in a remote village, teach English. If I put some thought into it, I might even be able to find something to do in Guam.

                Now if you really think that Guam might be rough duty with nothing to do then

                A United States Air Force radar, surveillance and weather station and aircraft refueling station, including a 3 km (10,000 foot) long runway, opened on Shemya in 1943 and is still in operation. The station, originally Shemya Air Force Base or Shemya Station, had 1,500 workers at its peak in the 1960s.
                top this Island paradise




                HP
                Last edited by Half Pint John; 11 Aug 07, 06:11.
                "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ogukuo72 View Post
                  We each have different perspectives. I respect that.

                  Russia can continue to throw its tantrums, but its becoming increasingly irrelevant in world affairs.

                  China and India. Now, those are rising powers.
                  Well 200 years of history should have taught us one thing - never underestimate Russia. Don't have to like, just don't underestimate it.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Aries View Post
                    Isn't it reassuring to know, that the Russian airforce after all this time, still knows how to find an island that hasn't gone anywhere lately


                    It is equally reassuring that they're still flying the Tu-95. Obsolescence disguised as obsolesce.

                    Originally posted by imperial
                    Well 200 years of history should have taught us one thing - never underestimate Russia. Don't have to like, just don't underestimate it.
                    You are right. We should not underestimate Russia. Russia is dangerous, especially to its smaller and weaker neighbors.

                    We also know from Russian history that Russia bullies the weak and fears the strong. This is why NATO should deal firmly with Russia, and why China and Japan must strengthen their military vis-a-vis Russia.
                    Last edited by Ogukuo72; 12 Aug 07, 09:50.

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                    • #11
                      A couple of thought spring to mind...

                      1. Those are some brave Russian pilots flying their old aircraft (maintained as only the current Russians know how) all that way over water.

                      2. Korean Airlines 007. Strayed over restricted military airspace and was shot down. Not a bad idea here. Russia has no realistic retaliation. I agree with the above; Russia will back away from strength.
                      Save America!! Impeach Obama!!

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                      • #12
                        I often wondered, lots of people say "Reagan brought down the wall, metaphorically speaking communist Russia." I'm not to sure about that, however was Reagan the death blow we needed to sink the RED ship, or were things in order for that to happen anyways? I have a few neo-con buddies who would fornicate with him if necessary! They seem to believe Reagan all but conquered Russia! lol I always posited that Reagan unlike his predecessor was WILLING to go to war anywhere any time with the Russians, hence all the tension we felt in the early to mid 80s. Not an expert on this but I am definetely looking to expand my reading on this topic!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sino Invasion View Post
                          1. Those are some brave Russian pilots flying their old aircraft (maintained as only the current Russians know how) all that way over water.

                          2. Korean Airlines 007. Strayed over restricted military airspace and was shot down. Not a bad idea here. Russia has no realistic retaliation. I agree with the above; Russia will back away from strength.
                          ONE NAME


                          Mathias Rust

                          One heavily armed stealth Cessna 172 landed in Red Square. Paper Tiger, Paper Bear!

                          HP
                          "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                          Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                          you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            And the Pentagon was spending billions of dollars developing stealth aircraft. It could have spent that money buying an entire fleet of Cessna 172.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Is the Russian Bear about to hit the end of its leash?

                              Three recent articles:

                              Stratfor: Morning Intelligence Brief - August 17, 2007

                              Geopolitical Diary: The Limits of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

                              The annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) broke in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Thursday after several hours of photo-ops and grandstanding. On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao will attend military exercises in the Chelyabinsk region in Russia's Ural Mountains. Some 6,000 Russian and Chinese troops, dozens of aircraft and hundreds of armored vehicles and other heavy weapons will participate -- the first such joint drills on Russian soil.

                              Moscow is most certainly on the move. In the past few months, Russia has pushed against the Baltics and the Caucasus , and it is spinning up for a major effort to bring Ukraine firmly back into its orbit. The United States is distracted by Iraq and unable to act as a check on Russian ambition. The political battle lines along Russia's western frontier are hardening; the question there is, will the United States will be too distracted to push back? And will anyone in Europe dare move against Russia without the Americans at their back? . . .
                              Stratfor: Global Intelligence Brief - August 16, 2007

                              Russia: Cashing Out of Gazprom

                              Summary

                              Due to government manipulation of events, the stock of Russian energy giant Gazprom has quintupled in value over the past three years. Yet Gazprom's own management is now cashing out, heralding deeper problems in the powerful -- yet bedeviled -- company.

                              Analysis

                              In the past year, mid-level managers at Russian energy mammoth Gazprom have been net sellers of stocks in the company. From May 2006 to May 2007, they sold stock valued at $48.5 million while only buying $11.3 million worth, according to the daily Gazeta -- a stark difference from the previous two years, during which purchases greatly outnumbered sales. . . .
                              Stratfor: Global Intelligence Brief - August 20, 2007

                              The Looming Central Asian Battleground

                              Summary

                              After 16 years of relative quiescence, Central Asia is about to become a major field of competition between the Russians and the Chinese.

                              Analysis

                              Over the weekend, the Chinese government sealed a series of energy deals with the governments of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Airy promises of cooperation on the windswept Asian steppe are about as common as cold winters, but these deals are different. China's offers are monumental in scope, strategic in nature and backed up by cold, hard cash.

                              The two most critical projects involve the final phase of an oil pipeline to link China to Kazakhstan's sector of the Caspian Sea. Once the line is completed, China will be able to tap multiple oil-producing regions throughout Kazakhstan, and ultimately ship 1.0 million barrels per day into western China. The 2,000-mile project is already two-thirds complete -- and over the weekend, Beijing bellied up to finance the final leg.

                              The second project would link Turkmenistan to China via a natural gas line. This project has been under discussion for some time, but the Chinese have always been coy in public about the deal's prospects. Now their interest is public and firm. Beijing also has explicitly said it wants the line to transit Uzbekistan, which would link Tashkent's energy and political desires into China's policy.

                              Taken together, the two projects mark a sea change in the geopolitics of the region. . . .

                              China's plans do not foresee exploiting many fresh sources of natural gas in the region, but simply diverting output from routes Russian to routes Chinese. This development, which could be in place as soon as 2009, would greatly interfere with Russia's strategic policies in a very real, sudden and broad sense.

                              Given Gazprom's technical limitations, without Central Asian natural gas, Gazprom can meet its export requirements for Europe or it can meet domestic demand -- not both. And considering that cheap energy acts as a panacea for social disruption at home and is a critical arm of strategic policy abroad, the Chinese decision to grab the ring will muck with Russian geostrategy in Europe, Central Asia and even at home. . . .
                              You'll have to go to Stratfor.com for the full texts. But taken together things could get very interesting in Central Asia. Is this the limit of the Russian resurgence? Without oil & gas exports there is no money to modernize the Russian military, support the political activities of Russian minority populations in FSU states, and buy the loyalty of questionable neighboring regimes. Do the Russians go head-to-head with China? Do they install do some regime change in Central Asia?

                              What sort of deal is Putin handing to his successor?
                              Any metaphor will tear if stretched over too much reality.

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