- Russian Tu-95 nuclear-capable bombers have approached US airspace near Alaska twice in the last month, and most recently on September 11.
- This happens often, but for a reason. These planes represent a key element of Russia’s nuclear strike plan against the US, which it practices regularly.
- Additionally, the Su-35 Russian fighter jets that came along may have been trying to snoop around the F-22s, stealth jets they likely couldn’t spot on their own.
Russian Tu-95 nuclear-capable bombers have approached US airspace near Alaska twice in the last month, and most recently on September 11.
But the Russians have a long history of sending the Tu-95s towards the US, and even on significant dates, such as July 4, 2015, when US jets intercepted a pair of the bombers.
While the probing flights of Russia’s nuclear bombers have become common enough not to provoke widespread alarm, they certainly do play a part in Moscow’s preparations for nuclear strikes on the US.
The Tu-95 has a long range and the ability to shoot very long range cruise missiles. In a fight against the US, Russia’s decades-long chief rival, the Tu-95s would likely fire nuclear or conventional cruise missiles at radar and missile defence sites in Alaska.
Sure enough, between the twin interceptions of Tu-95s in September, Russian media reported that the Cold War-era bombers had been practicing long-range cruise missile fires.
It’s unclear if the specific Tu-95s testing US airspace participated in Russia’s large scale drills lately, but Moscow has a limited number of the old planes and likely does not fly them without an objective in mind.
The bombers flying on September 11 brought with them Su-35 fighter jets, some of Russia’s best combat aircraft, to accompany them for the ride.
Along with practicing the route Russia could possibly take in initiating nuclear war against the US, including the Su-35s may have added the benefit of getting a look at the F-22 on its radars.
The F-22, a 70 foot-long plane, has the radar signature of a marble. This presents Russia’s fighters with a nightmare situation in finding the plane airborne, so getting it to fly up close and scanning it then may provide some useful military intelligence.
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