August 9th 2014. Russian nuclear bombers were spotted flying near
this week. That's pretty close for an arch adversary to be flying its military
jets. According to sources close to the U.S. military,
it is not uncommon to see Russian planes in this airspace. Nevertheless, this
is the second such sighting since June that triggered a response by American
military jet personnel.
Major Beth Smith, of the U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), reported NORAD has visually identified about 16 incidents of Russian aircraft operating in the Alaskan and north Canadian area in the last 10 days.
Smith noted that these were training missions, though a spy plane and anti-submarine plane were spotted among the bombers. Another defense official told the Washington Free Beacon they believe this is more than just a training flight. The official stated Russian strategic nuclear forces appear to be trying to test our air defense reactions, or our command and control systems. The official believes these are more than standard training missions."
The recently "wandering" bombers were escorted by
U.S. fighter jets away from the Alaskan airspace.
Some members of the military and aviation community ponder if the spike in Russian jet sightings is related to the unrest in
The Russian military does not deny they have flown in that area. They told ITAR-TASS, all flights were scheduled in advance and were made in strict compliance with the international rules of using airspace without trespassing the borders of other countries.
The takeaway. Any potential adversary flying bomber jets within striking distance of the homeland is too close for comfort.