And the Jeopardy question?
Are Russian Bombers Flying Nuclear Drills Near Europe—Or Just Testing NATO’s Defenses?
Yesterday I literally said I could not imagine what the Russians IMAGINED they were doing.
We have one answer from NATO head of intelligence.
Nuclear-capable Russian bombers
are flying over the North Sea and the Atlantic. And U.S. Air Force
officers are very concerned at what could be a rehearsal of a deadly
Russian bombers may be flying nuclear strike drills over the Atlantic
Ocean and North Sea, current and former U.S. Air Force officers
believe. At the very least, these officers tell The Daily Beast, the
Russian Air Force is aggressively probing what NATO calls European airspace in an effort to gauge the reaction times of the western alliance’s defenses.
Since Oct. 28, NATO air defenses have detected and monitored four
groups of Russian combat aircraft over the Baltic Sea, North Sea,
Atlantic Ocean, and Black Sea. Norwegian F-16 fighters intercepted one
particular group of Russian aircraft on Oct. 29 that included four,
nuclear-capable Tupolev Tu-95 Bear H strategic bombers and four Ilyushin
Il-78 aerial refueling tankers. Once intercepted, six of the Russian
aircraft headed for home while the two remaining Tu-95 bombers continued
southwest, parallel to the Norwegian coast, before eventually turning
back towards Russia.
The giant, propeller-driven Tu-95 is a launch platform for the 1,600
nautical mile range Raduga Kh-55 nuclear-tipped cruise missile. The
weapon carries a 200-kiloton nuclear warhead; by comparison, the bomb
that destroyed Nagasaki was a mere 21 kilotons. Some active-duty and
retired U.S. Air Force officials told The Daily Beast that the Tu-95s
might have been flying to certain predetermined launch points for their
“That could certainly be the case,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen.
David Deptula, the service’s influential former intelligence chief. “It
is not farfetched that at some point within the next two years [Russian
President Vladimir] Putin makes a more aggressive move in Eastern Europe
and uses a nuclear threat to deter a NATO response.”
Of course, every nuclear capable air force runs exercises to practice
its so-called “strategic deterrence.” It’s the pace and scale of these
current flights that have military observers concerned.
“Our bomber crews regularly fly training sorties for their full range
of potential missions, including strategic deterrence practice
missions,” Mark Gunzinger, a former B-52 pilot and current air power
analyst the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said. “[The
Russian Air Force] has never stopped flying training sorties, but it’s
apparent that the scope of this one is catching people’s attention.”
Asked if at least some of these flights were nuclear drills, Gunzinger responded, “that is probably the case.”
Meanwhile, Obama is unilaterally dismantling the US nuclear arsenal.
I agree, that at this time he's not fully ready to start a first strike, but it won't deter him to launch a first strike if he's pushed far enough.
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