Russian bombers to fly over the Gulf of Mexico. This is what happened last year in Central America.

Nov 14 2014 - 26 Comments

Russian bombers about to become regular visitors of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Not a first though.

After visiting the Arctic and Europe, Russian bombers prepare to perform long-range training sorties over the waters of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

According to Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu Moscow is in the “need to ensure a military presence in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific oceans, the waters of the Caribbean basin and the Gulf of Mexico.”

Therefore, along with probing NATO air defenses in northern Europe, Turkey and possibly in the Mediterranean Sea, Russia will increase its presence closer to the Continental U.S.

One year ago, two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers completed a 10,000 miles, 13-hour long-range training flight (supported by two Tu- 95 Bear strategic bombers that provided radio communications relay in remote areas along the route) and landed in Venezuela, at the airport in Maiquetía Caracas, for the first time since 2008.

On their way home the Tu-160s visited Nicaragua but the flight over Central America brought the two Russian bombers to fly inside the Colombian airspace without the required diplomatic clearance.

For this reason they were intercepted by two Colombian Air Force Kfir fighter planes approximately 80 miles from Barranquilla.

Eventually, the Blackjacks returned to the Engels base on Nov. 5 where they landed about 15 hours later after; the return trip included aerial refueling by Il-78 tankers over the Norwegian Sea…

Earlier this year, Russia discussed with its regional partners the possibility to base its assets in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

NATO has recently reported “unusual” spike in Russian military aircraft flying in international airspace in northern Europe.

The increased activity of Russian bombers and spyplanes close to national airspaces caused alert scrambles in the Baltic Sea area and in the Portuguese FIR (Flight Information Region). In one case, an Il-20 almost collided with a civil plane off Sweden.

Image credit: Alan Wilson


  • jetcal1

    Hope they have a nice boring flight with plenty of hot tea, sandwiches and pickled veggies.

    • Sean

      Don’t forget the cherries to sip tea around.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    More flight time for the US Air National Guard. And hopefully some great photos and vids.

  • JEFFofTX

    It’s interesting that it’s so noteworthy that two bombers of the great Russian military made a 10,000 mile flight. Isn’t that what intercontinental bombers do?

    • tim robinson

      When they’re capable of flying and are not being upgraded, in preventative maintenance or out of action

      There are 16 active black jacks still in service, less than the B2 even, and of those only ten are scheduled to be upgraded so God knows about the other six

      they have an air readiness of 65%, and the 20 engines a year forecast is the minimum required annually stipulated by Tupolev, where Russia will pay for a maximum of 8…

      So yes it’s a big deal when they operate a 23 hour journey into a theatre they dot usually operate in, is a big deal

    • seven

      These aircraft can easily make these kinds of trips …I think whats noteworthy is that they are flying in your backyard

      • big john ok


  • big john ok

    Looks like Putin is getting antsy with the price of oil falling through the floor which has killed Mr Putins economy

    • OR

      my worry is that the effect would be opposite, alianating Russia economically can consolidate and mobilise its people, whoever is left there (but looks like they still got enough smart and ready to act individuals) around the wrong leader.. they would not raise for cheap phones tv sets, etc, even if there would be food shortages no.. Don’t forget the is no economy is Russia never was one.. they are used to it so they probably don’t need one (in the way you perceive it)

      • StanleyClueBrick

        The other ramification connected to coming down too hard on Putin is the fact that a good part of Europe gets its gas from Russia/Russian owned entities. I could be wrong here as I’m no expert in their affairs. My observation is based upon cursory readings of the news. Interesting times, but when were times not interesting?

    • StanleyClueBrick

      They won’t be able to afford to fly these “PR” missions much less carry out a war if their economy is in the tank. They don’t have the luxury we have in the currency department; thankfully.

    • Will Coles

      Hasn’t he just signed the biggest gas deal in history with China? Not sure he’s too worried about oil. Europe has to buy most of its gas of him, directly or indirectly. The Wests sanctions so far seem to be hurting the West more.

      • big john ok

        I dont know gas is getting cheaper and cheaper by the day here its in the $2,50-70 range.

      • John Kenealy

        Still so sure about that? It’s obvious to everyone the regime in Moscow in in full blown damage control and in panic mode

  • tim robinson

    Pretty looking plane, gives the Bone a run in the looks department…

  • mh53j

    Maybe it is time to put NORAD back in Cheyenne Mountain.

  • P.Act

    I think they can be really dangerous if you don’t keep watch on them. Maybe this would be a good idea to persuade them wherever they fly by some RAPTORS!

  • thebronze

    B-1 rip-off anyone?

  • thebronze


  • J.S.Bridges

    Time to start making “peaceful” overflights of various areas of the former Soviet “states” – including Ukraine, of course – with U.S.A.F. B-52, B-1B and B-2 planes. Maybe followed by the “basing” of some units of same as closely as possible to the various Russian borders.

    I’d say the Finns, for instance, would likely be o.k. with a few U.S. bomber units being located within their borders – should help a bit with their economy, don’t you think?

    All in the name of “international harmony and friendship”, of course…

    • big john ok

      Those would be called Chrome Dome missions :)

  • Uncle Sam

    Poor russians….they don’t only need to copy our bomber designs….and everything else we do….but they now need to feel ‘superior’ by endangering thousands of lives by flying across some of the most congested airspace in the western hemisphere unannounced. Why don’t you just accept that -no matter what- you will ALWAYS be number 2 at everything and that you are only further and further alienating your funny little regime by acting like spoiled toddlers.

    • OR

      well.. Russians will always be number 1 for putting man in space, won’t they?) They are poor ..capitalisation less than Apple’s valuation yet still they manage to fly this missions expanding their millitary activity, build new aircrafts, submarines, supersonic vehicles, put satellites in space, etc.. the number on the piece of paper doesn’t necessary represent the true value of something especially when it is located somewhere within Russian borders.. yet true they behave like toddlers you do as well btw, by claiming that someone will ‘ALWAYS be number 2’, quite childish, ..probably means that someone also needs to grow up

  • StanleyClueBrick

    Does anyone really know what he was referring to during that conversation? I think it wise to give the President the benefit of doubt here. He could have been snowing Putin for all we know; a sort of, “Yeah, yeah, I’ll look into it for you sometime” kind of thing.

  • Tomcat

    Perhaps having a few targeting radars light them up every time they invade someone’s airspace “accidentally” will discourage this reckless behavior.

  • Will Coles

    Can anyone suggest a reliable source of info that states BOTH Russian & NATO recent ‘exercises’? It seems that in most recent cases Russia is holding air/nuclear exercises in response to similar NATO exercises.