Russia bombers to test-fire missiles in Atlantic

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by HarryPalmer, Jan 22, 2008.

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  1. By Guy Faulconbridge Reuters - Tuesday, January 22 11:04 am

    MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia on Tuesday sent two long-range bombers to the Bay of Biscay, off the French and Spanish Atlantic coasts, to test-fire missiles in what it billed as its biggest navy exercise in the area since Soviet times.

    British and Norwegian Tornado and F-16 jets were escorting the Russian 'Blackjack' bombers, Interfax reported, quoting the Russian Air Force.

    However, the French Defence Ministry spokesman said his country had been informed about the Russian exercises.

    Firing missiles off the coastline of two members of the NATO military alliance is the latest in a series of Kremlin moves flexing Moscow's military muscle on the world stage.

    The Russian bombers joined aircraft carriers, battleships and submarine hunters from the Northern and Black Sea fleets for the Atlantic exercises, which come as the country enters an election campaign to choose a successor to President Vladimir Putin.

    "The air force is taking a very active part in the exercises of the navy's strike force in the Atlantic," Russia's air force said in a statement.

    "Today, two strategic Tu-160 bombers departed for exercises in the Bay of Biscay, which ... will carry out a number of missions and will conduct tactical missile launches," it said.

    Putin, widely popular as his second four-year term draws to a close, has sought to use such moves to revive domestic and international respect for Russia's armed forces which were shattered by the chaos of the 1990s.

    A former KGB lieutenant-colonel, Putin has boosted military spending, renewed long-range bomber missions and approved a plan to upgrade Russia's nuclear attack forces, which he said was needed after NATO built up its forces close to Russia's borders.

    But some analysts note that while the sabre rattling is popular at home, Russian military spending in absolute terms is substantially lower than that of China, Britain or France and less than a tenth of that of the United States.

    Discipline is still a major problem for Russia's armed forces, which rely heavily on conscripts and outdated equipment.

    Russia last month said it would begin major navy sorties into the Mediterranean, with 11 ships backed up by 47 aircraft, that would then travel to the Atlantic for exercises.

    The navy's flagship aircraft carrier, the Soviet-made Admiral Kuznetsov, was leading the fleet in the Atlantic where NATO aircraft were trying to keep a close eye on Russian movements, Russian media reported.

    "This is the biggest exercise of its kind in the area since Soviet times," a spokesman for Russia's navy said, adding that more details would be released later.

    There was no further information about where in the Bay of Biscay, which lies off the West coast of France and the Northern coast of Spain, the missile tests were due to take place.

    Russia's air force said turbo-prop Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bombers, codenamed "Bear" by NATO, would join the exercise on Wednesday.

    "From January 23, the aviation component in the zone where the exercises are going on will be widened and the following planes will take part: Tu-160, Tu-95, Tu-22 M3, Il-78, A-50," the air force said.

    (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Conor Sweeney in Moscow, additional reporting by Crispian Balmer in Paris; editing by Keith Weir)
  2. I doubt the RAF has got anything that can intercept those turbo prop Tupolev TU-95 bombers.

    What next, bomb donkeys on the polish border?
  3. This has got to be the biggest boost to the RAF Typhoon fleet ever.

    Have the RAF got any Nimrods spare to go hunting the Russian fleet in the Atlantic?.

    Russia is looking more and more likely to be goading the West into a second Cold War.This time the Risskies will have the money from oil receipts and a booming economy(in some sectors at least) to play these games.

    The question is will Gordon boost spending to match any emerging threat from Russia?.Or like last time,would a high proportion of the Labour Party side with the Russians?.
  4. The turboprop Tu 95 is an excellent aircraft, with a performance similar to the B52. It can fly non-stop from Russia to Cuba, and is an good platform for cruise missiles. It is also refuellable in flight.
  5. While some of their gear might be top-notch, the human material for the Russian Armed Forces is a different matter. Apparently nobody is drafted that can bribe or bullshit their way out of it, which means that the conscripts that are nabbed aren't exactly the cream of Russian society. Their officers evidently prefer things this way since it means that it's easier to hire them out as cheap labour (and allegedly as rent boys....)
  6. Biped

    Biped LE Book Reviewer

    I heard a rumour that Putin is in the employ of the US DOD. He has been tasked with scaring the European and US electorates so that defense budgets can be increased.

    Broon and Labour on the other hand see this as any excuse to further cut funding in the armed forces as the Russians, just like labour fly the red flag, and thus, Russia will protect us.
  7. OK, so that's the Admiral K and friends from up north, the Kiev group from down south, and now enter left, Long Range Aviation, with not just the Bears, but tankers, awacski, Blackjacks, and even the Backfires (who haven't been heard from for a while). For a *live fire exercise* with cruise missiles.

    I wonder what they can possibly mean? (Other than "woohoo! we've got some budget for Jet A1 at last!")

  8. Other than training, it looks like a poke at restoring some military pride - see the parades planned in Moscow. It seems that it might be more for the benefit of the Russian people/armed forces than anything else.
  9. They will probably decide to send ivan a couple of million in aid....
  10. gives the crabs something to do?
  11. However if 40 ten year olds jumped you at a bus stop you would still lose.
  12. No, from what I've seen it's the Admiral K and 2 destroyers (Udaloy class)plus support from up north, and the Moskva (Slava class) from the black sea.
  13. Given our reliance on gas supplies shipped from or through Russian territory for both domestic heating and a significant number of power stations, Cold war could very well be a scarily accurate title!
  14. Saber Rattling

    Come on Crabs, give us some details on it?

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