According to numerous press reports received here at the Milcom MP overnight, two F-22 fighter jets intercepted six Russian military airplanes that neared the western coast of Alaska on Wednesday.
Lt. Col. Michael Jazdyk, a spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, said the U.S. jets intercepted the planes about 55 nautical miles from the Alaskan coast at about 7 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday evening.
The Russian planes were identified as two IL-78 refueling tankers, two Mig-31 fighter jets and two Bear long-range bombers. They looped south and returned to their base in Russia after the U.S. jets were scrambled (see related material below on the Vostok 2014 Russian military exercise).
At about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, two Canadian CF-18 fighter jets intercepted two of the long-range bombers about 40 nautical miles off the Canadian coastline in the Beaufort Sea.
In both cases, the Russian planes entered the Air Defense Identification Zone, which extends about 200 miles from the coastline. They did not enter sovereign airspace of the United States or Canada.
In the past five years, jets under NORAD's command have intercepted more than 50 Russian bombers approaching North American airspace from our friends the Russian military.
And what is all this provocative military activity all about?
The Russians are conducting a major strategic exercise known as Vostok-2014
Air Force crews will actively participate in a large-scale strategic command post exercise "Vostok-2014" on the territory of the Eastern Military District. Russian Air Force will perform a set of tasks on a comprehensive aviation security interspecific groups of the Eastern Military District, reported the press service of the Office of Information and the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.
As reported by the Defense Department, the Air Force crews of the Russian Federation will fulfill the task relocation spare and operational airfields, cover troop columns on the routes moving troops, combat duty on defense, landing equipment and personnel, aerial reconnaissance, as well as the application of air strikes on ground and sea targets, simulating weapons and military equipment imaginary enemy.
The exercise will involve strategic bombers Tu-95MS missile, long-range bombers Tu-22M3 aircraft tanker Il-78 military transport aircraft Il-76 and An-12 aircraft airborne early warning
Direct participation in air support of troops in landfills TSB will provide Army Aviation helicopters Mi-8, Mi-24 and Ka-52, Sukhoi Su-24, Su-25, MiG-31 and Su-27, and the latest multi-function aviation systems of the Su-34, Su-30cm and Su-35s.
Recall exercises "Vostok-2014" will be held September 19-25, more than 20 land, sea and air ranges of the Eastern Military District, in the five regions of the Russian Federation from Anadyr to Vladivostok.
The exercise will involve about 100 thousand. Troops to 1.5 thousand. Tanks, and 120 aircraft, up to 5 thousand. Pieces of weapons, military and special equipment and up to 70 ships.
Obviously this was great timing on Putin's part since the Ukrainian President was in Washington addressing a joint session of Congress. But the tensions aren't over yet. As one military blogger posted, "can't wait for the general freakout in a few weeks when the exercise climaxes in a multiple ICBM/SLBM launch serial."
Here is some recent Russian Bear H Net activity reported via the UDXF group (Tom Hill and et al)
8162.0 kHz Tu-95MS Bear H net in CW (W Markers)
8895.0 kHz Tu-95MS Bear H net in CW (W/R Markers)
8033.0 kHz USB Comms
9027.0 kHz Aircraft CW
5312.0 kHz Ground CW
5835.0 kHz Ground CW
Watch this blog for future updates and additional frequency info to monitor this tense political/military situation.