Russian bombers fly off California and around U.S. Pacific base at Guam

As U.S. and NATO planes gather around Ukraine, long range air activity by Russian bombers in the Pacific is increasing and concerning.

Russian activity in Crimea has been accompanied by an increased presence in the Asia-Pacific region by Moscow’s long-range bombers.

Commander of the U.S. Pacific Air Forces, General Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, said that Russian patrols included air activity off the coast of California, and around the U.S. Pacific base at Guam, Reuters reported.

Speaking at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, Carlisle showed also a slide of a U.S. F-15 fighter jet intercepting a Russian Tu-95 “Bear” aircraft that was circumnavigating Guam, a base where U.S. strategic bombers are usually deployed.

Along with missions flown as far as the U.S. West Coast, Russian patrols around the Japanese islands and Korea have increased “drastically.”

Few days ago, Tu-95s were intercepted by RAF Typhoons off UK islands.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force


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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. There’s a lot to say about your post, but let me keep it to this: These Tu-95’s can carry nukes with a range of over 1500 miles… Which are stealthy.

    So the bombers themselves may be highly visible, but if they can release their ordinance at such a distance, that doesn’t matter as much.

    • Those missiles are stealthy just because they fly at a very low altitude but not for the body shape or materials used to coat them. So they might be visible to the AWACS planes.

  2. this is what professionals from US Airforce think about it, even as they underestimate one of best airplanes in history :”We care because it fly a long way, loiter a long time, and can carry a whole bunch of cruise missiles. He may be packing as many 16 Kh-55 missiles with a range of 1,600 miles. He doesn’t have to get close, he just has to get close enough.” link from

    • These missiles can be detected by AWACS planes and they’re not going to harm any where. The other point is that in a real war whole Russian borders will be under observation and don’t think any plane like this one can fly out of Russia without being seen. Of course those missiles are dangerous but Nuke weapons are just there to stop other countries to attack the owner of them, but not to be used in war because if one side use nukes the other side will do too and it’s just a lose…

  3. the tu95 has an unrefuelled range of 15,000km. Which planes do you think they should be escorted by?

    • Some fighter with external fuel tanks under their wings can escort these planes to that range, but if The Russian have enough and trustworthy aerial tankers to refuel the fighters.

      • That’s some ask. The longest range fighter I know of in service is the Sukhoi 35 with a range of 4500km with extra fuel 2 tanks. The only Russian tanker is the Il-78 “Midas” which has a range of only 7300km (less if you want to drop off fuel). The fuel burn on the Il-78 is horrendous. Reminds me of the time the crazy British took a Vulcan bomber from Ascension Island and back again with all the refuelling.

        The tu95 is a strategic bomber. Its main purpose is to test air force response times from other countries and a little political push back (Russia complains in the UN – no one in the west cares, a couple of tu95 fly near Scotland – its time to call Putin). Survivability is low. The mere fact that Russia has never fired a nuclear weapon in anger means the tu95 is doing its job. No escorts required.

        • So Russians have enough equipments to escort that plane. BTW your interpretation of that plane’s political role and effect is somehow unbelievable.

          • You might want to read the new article on this site about the Bear & launching 6 missiles in live fire exercise and the political gaming going on. Interestingly escorted by Mig 31s but as they only have a max range of 3300km escorting has to stay local.

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