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

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


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. 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?

    • 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

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

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

    • 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)

      • 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?

    • 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.

    • 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.

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

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