Tag Archives: Tu-95

This Infographic provides all the details about the Russian Strategic Bomber Fleet Operations over Syria

All you need to know about the Russian bombers missions against terrorists in Syria.

Beginning on Nov. 17, the Russian Air Force has started pounding Islamic State (as well as rebel forces) in Syria with its Stategic Bomber Fleet.

Tu-22M Backfire, Tu-95MS Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack bombers have carried out long round-trip missions from bases in mainland Russia dropping a wide variety of guided and unguided weapons over terrorists targets: from the FAB-250 iron bombs, to the KH-555 and KH-101 air launched cruise missiles.

On Nov. 20, for the first time ever, two Tu-160s carried out their mission taking off from a deployment base in Kola Peninsula: they flew around western Europe, through the Mediterranean Sea and, after meeting the Su-30SMs departed from Latakia, launched some ALCMs (Air Launched Cruise Missiles). Then, they entered the Syrian airspace and returned home via the eastern corridor: Iraq-Iran-Caspian Sea. A 13,000km journey.

On the same day, Su-34 Fullbacks launched 16 sorties against ground targets in Syria taking off from Krimsk airbase, in Russia.

Interestingly, during their transit across Middle East, the Russian strategic bombers were escorted by Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force F-14 Tomcat, Mig-29 Fulcrum and F-4 Phantom jets whose prior mission to visually observe activity of Russian bombers inside the Iranian airspace, from their entry point to the exit point.

Military aviation historian and journalist Babak Taghvaee has prepared an interesting infographic that provides lots of details about the Russian strategic bombers missions to Syria as well as about the Iranian chase planes.

Click below for a higher resolution version of the file.

Infographic Russian air strikes in Syria

Image credit: Babak Taghvaee

 

Russian Tu-95 bombers escorted by Mig-31 interceptors skirt UK, get intercepted multiple times

Two Russian Tu-95MS strategic bombers performed a 19-hour mission over the Atlantic Ocean. They were intercepted multiple times along the way.

On Jan. 29, two Russian Air Force Tu-95 strategic bombers from Engels airbase successfully completed a 19-hour long range mission over neutral waters near the Barents and Norwegian Seas, the Atlantic Ocean.

The Bears, accompanied by Mig-31 Foxhound long-range interceptors, were refueled twice by Il-78 Midas aerial refuelers and were intercepted and escorted by RAF Typhoons, Norwegian F-16s and French Mirage 2000s at various stages of their trip.

Even though according to the Office of Press and Information of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation “All flights of the [Russian] Air Force were carried out in strict accordance with international regulations on the use of airspace over neutral waters, without violating the borders of other states,” during their tour, the strategic bombers flew quite close to the UK airspace, causing “disruption to civil aviation”.

The Russian Tu-95s flew within 25 miles of the UK without filing a Flight Plan (FPL), without radio contact with the British ATC agencies and, obviously, without transponder switched on, and were shadowed by Typhoon jets scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Coningsby supported by a Voyager tanker.

This was not the first time Russian bombers skirted the UK airspace and it won’t be the last one. However, the UK summoned the Russian ambassador after the latest “dangerous” episode.

Image credit: Russian Federation MoD

 

 

NATO worried by an “unusual level of Russian air activity over European airspace”: 19 warplanes intercepted today

Russian air activity across Europe is surging: three more formations intercepted today.

As reported yesterday, on Oct. 28, the German Air Force Eurofighter jets on QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) to provide NATO Baltic Air Policing were scrambled to intercept 2x MiG-31 Foxhound, 2x Su-34 Fullback, 1x Su-27 Flanker and 2x Su-24 Fencer jets over the Baltic Sea.

The following day, Oct. 29, three large packages of Russian planes skirting NATO “airspace” were detected and monitored by aircraft on QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) in both northern Europe and Turkey.

“These sizable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European airspace,” said NATO in an official statement.

At approximately 3:00 a.m. CET NATO radars detected and tracked eight Russian aircraft flying in formation over the North Sea, in international airspace.

The Royal Norwegian Air Force scrambled its F-16s in QRA that intercepted and identified the Russian aircraft as four Tu-95 Bear H strategic bombers and four Il-78 tanker aircraft.

In what can be seen as a “show of force”, two of the Russian strategic bombers flew parallel to the Norwegian coast, heading to the south-west and were intercepted by Eurofighter Typhoon jets scrambled by the Royal Air Force (whereas the remaining 6 Russian Air Force planes returned towards Russia).

West of Portugal the two Bears were intercepted by F-16s from the Portuguese Air Force.

According to NATO, “The bomber and tanker aircraft from Russia did not file flight plans or maintain radio contact with civilian air traffic control authorities and they were not using on-board transponders. This poses a potential risk to civil aviation as civilian air traffic control cannot detect these aircraft or ensure there is no interference with civilian air traffic.”

Later on the same day, whilst the Tu-95 returned towards Russia, NATO radars detected and tracked four Russian aircraft flying over the Black Sea in international air space: 2 Tu-95 Bear-H bombers and 2 Su-27 Flanker fighter jets.

Turkish Air Force F-16s were scrambled and intercepted the Russian aircraft in international airspace.

During the afternoon of Oct. 29 October, NATO radars detected and tracked 7 Russian planes over the Baltics (needless to say, in international airspace): 2x MiG-31 Foxhound, 2x Su-34 Fullback, 1x Su-27 Flanker and 2x Su-24 Fencer jets (these were probably the very same aircraft intercepted on Oct. 28).

Portuguese F-16 Fighters assigned to the Baltic Air Policing Mission were scrambled from Šiauliai, Lithuania. It’s unclear whether they reached the package or not; anyway, the Russian Air Force planes returned to Russia’s airspace.
Image credit: UK MoD / Crown Copyright

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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Mysterious debris emerges from sea in Norway. Piece of a Russian bomber or rocket?

Some interesting as well as mysterious metal parts with Russian text have emerged from sea in the Salmon Bay, in Finnmark, in the extreme northeastern part of Norway, on Jun. 3.

According to the Norwegian TV2 website, the official explanation is that the wreck part belongs to the second stage of a rocket called Kosmos2486. The rocket was launched on Jun. 7 from Tlesetsk in Russia barely four days before the mysterious debris appeared on the surface of the sea.

However, several analysts disagree with the rocket theory for several reasons: first of all, the main part is a cylindrical container with a circumference of around nine meters with an oxygen bottle or fire extinguisher attached to it (something you don’t usually expect to be attached to an unmanned rocket). Then, there are signs of corrosion, suggesting that the metal parts may have been in the water for a long time.

Mysterious object 2

The object is about 3 meters wide and 3.5 to 4.5 meters in length and is curved. It shows signs of damages and torn parts on one side. Halfway through the curved suface there’s a pressure bottle, possibly a fire extinguisher or something similar. It sports Cyrillic inscriptions meaning that it is either Russian or made in Russia.

Mysterious object 4

Image credits: Bernt Nilsen/TV2.no

According to TV2, it could be an escape deck hatch of a Russian military plane, possibly a Tu-16 Badger, or a Tu-95 Bear engine nacelle.

Color of the wreckage (white) actually recalls the livery of the Tu-22 Backfire or Tu-16o Blackjack bombers.

Any clues?

H/T to Lars Korsmo for sending me the links to the story

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