Friday, April 24, 2015

Russia regains control of radio facility in Cuba's Lourdes base

This article originally appeared on the Sputnik News website on July 16. 2014.

Archive. Photo: RIA Novosti
Russia has retrieved the main Soviet radio interception facility – the signals intelligence center in Cuban Lourdes, the Kommersant newspaper wrote on Wednesday. "The decision to return to Cuba can be explained by Russia's long strengthened financial capabilities, as well as cooling of relations with the US," sources in the Russian power structures said.

The base on the territory of the USSR's and Russia's most consistent ally was built in 1962 and since then, has been repeatedly renewed, satisfying the need for interception of information from American communication satellites, ground-based telecommunications cables and wiretapping the NASA's Mission Control Center on Cape Canaveral. This is facilitated by its location in the Western part of the island, only 250 kilometers from Florida's coast.

In 2001, unexpectedly for the Cubans, Russia refused to use the center, which, according to the then Minister of Defense of Cuba Raul Castro, at the moment of the collapse of the USSR provided up to 75 percent of intelligence information.

The center was closed after Vladimir Putin visited it together with Fidel Castro in December, 2000, and while speaking to the staff stated "the importance of the facility for ensuring Russia's security, the need to support its activities and development prospects." But a year later, head of the Russian General Staff Anatoly Kvashnin made a statement that the center in Lourdes was not important, was costly, and its functions could be easily transferred to modern satellites.

Cubans were able to maintain the center, having created a scientific center on its basis. Since 2004, after the deterioration of relations with the US, Russia began to consider the possibility of returning to Cuba. The talks were sharply intensified at the beginning of this year and successfully completed during Putin's visit to Havana.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

US warship heads to Yemeni waters!

The Associated Press this morning is reporting that US Navy warships are headed for the waters off Yemen.

"In a stepped-up response to Iranian backing of Shiite rebels in Yemen, the Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is steaming toward the waters off Yemen to beef up security and join other American ships that are prepared to intercept any Iranian vessels carrying weapons to the Houthi rebels.

"Navy officials said Monday that the Roosevelt was moving through the Arabian Sea. A massive ship that carries F/A-18 fighter jets, the Roosevelt is seen more of a deterrent and show of force in the region.
"The U.S. Navy has been beefing up its presence in the Gulf of Aden and the southern Arabian Sea in response to reports that a convoy of about eight Iranian ships is heading toward Yemen and possibly carrying arms for the Houthis. Navy officials said there are about nine U.S. warships in the region, including cruisers and destroyers carrying teams that can board and search other vessels."
You can read the rest of this story at

Monday, April 13, 2015

NATO AWACS Investigates Baltic Skies

How to Spot a Russian Bomber

Found this interesting article in my stack of stuff from back in the middle of February posted to the BBC News blog ( Given the current situation, this might be helpful to have around.

How to Spot a Russian bomber

Two Russian bombers have been escorted from near UK territory - the latest in a series of similar incidents. How easy is it to spot a Russian plane, asks Jon Kelly.

Plane spotter's guide

The Ministry of Defence insists that the Russian aircraft did not enter British airspace, which extends 12 nautical miles from the nation's coast. But it says they were inside the UK's "area of interest", and the RAF scrambled Typhoon jets to intercept them. If the MoD's account is accurate, they may have been flying too far away for ordinary plane spotters to detect them - although a woman in Cornwall claims she saw them flying inland.

Each was a Tu-95 MS, also known by its NATO reporting name "Bear-H", a four-engine long-range bomber, equipped with turboprop-driven propellers and set-back wings that give it an unmistakable silhouette.

The Bear Bomber
The TU-95 Bear Bomber
The most noticeable thing about the Bear, the earliest iteration of which entered service in 1956, is the almighty racket it makes. Its contra-rotating propellers spin faster than the speed of sound, creating their own sonic boom, making it one of "the loudest combat aircraft ever built", says Justin Bronk of the Royal United Services Institute. The Bear, which typically carries six or seven crew members, is not the fastest aircraft in the Russian fleet, reaching speeds of only about 575 mph (920 km/h). But it is regarded as one of the most reliable, says Bronk, which helps account for its longevity.

A supersonic Tu-160 strategic bomber
A Tu-160 strategic bomber
Another bomber you might expect to see just outside British airspace is the Tu-160, known as the Blackjack, two of which were intercepted by RAF Tornado F3 fighters off the Scottish coast in 2010. Unlike the Bear, the Blackjack is capable of supersonic speeds of up to 2,200km/h. "It's essentially a heavier and faster equivalent of the American B1B Lancer," says Bronk. It also has a longer range and can carry more nuclear-capable missiles. An upgraded version of the TU-160 made its maiden flight in November 2014.

A Russian long-range bomber TU-22
A Russian long-range bomber TU-22
Then there's the Tu-22M3 strategic bomber, which is also supersonic and nuclear-capable. "It's not as big as the Bear and the Blackjack," says Bronk. "Its closest Western equivalent is the F-111." Its variable-sweep wing allows it to take off quickly and fly at very low altitudes. There are thought to be over 100 TU-22Ms in service in the Russian fleet.

The MiG 31 interceptor
The MiG 31 interceptor
Sometimes Bears are escorted by supersonic MiG-31 interceptors, says Bronk. Among the world's fastest combat aircraft, they are equipped with onboard radar that can track 24 airborne targets and attack six at a time. But Bronk says: "Although they are extremely fast and carry powerful radar, they are a essentially an evolution of a very old design, the MiG-25, and are no match for the RAF's Typhoons in air-to-air combat."

Plane spotter's guide
The incident in Cornwall is unlikely to be the last time radar operators detect Bears. There was a similar incident in January when two Bear bombers were escorted by RAF jet after causing what the Foreign Office called a "disruption to civil aviation". The RAF intercepted Russian aircraft on eight occasions in 2014, and the same number of times in 2013, according to MoD figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.

"Bear raids" just outside British airspace were a common occurrence during the Cold War, sometimes taking place every week, says defence analyst Paul Beaver. Back then, he says, the intention was to test the RAF's reaction time. Their frequency lessened in the final years of the Soviet Union and stopped altogether when the Berlin Wall fell. Under Vladimir Putin's leadership, however, they have resumed. Yesterday, Prime Minister David Cameron said he suspected the Russians were "trying to make some sort of a point", and Bronk agrees. "Essentially, it's rattling the sabre."

Thanks to Nick de Larrinaga of IHS Jane's Defence Weekly for assistance with this article.


Russians intercept US reconnaissance plane - Updated Story

A Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter flies in international airspace near the Baltic States in this photograph taken on June 17, 2014 and received via Britain's Ministry of Defence (MoD) in London on June 18, 2014. Photo courtesy of RAF/MoD.
The AP is reporting the U.S. is protesting an intercept of a U.S. reconnaissance plane by a Russian fighter jet last week, calling it "unsafe and unprofessional" amid what it views as increasingly aggressive air operations by Moscow.

The Pentagon says that a U.S. RC-135U plane was flying in international airspace north of Poland. U.S. officials say a Russian SU-27 fighter intercepted the U.S. aircraft at a high rate of speed from the rear, and then proceeded to conduct two more passes using "unsafe and unprofessional maneuvers" in close proximity.

It isn't the first time the U.S. has protested to Moscow what it considered to be an unsafe intercept. Last April, a Russian fighter jet intercepted a U.S. reconnaissance plane in international airspace over the Sea of Okhotsk.

Blog Editor's Note: Media reports indicate that this event occurred on 7 April 2015. A quick check of Mode-S logs for that day indicated the only RC-135U airborne that day was RC-135U 64-14849 (Hex code AE01D5) with a mode-s call sign of Telex 97 and yes it was over Poland/Estonia/Finland area between 1000-1300 UTC. Interestingly, based on the database it looks like that aircraft did not fly the next day. This aircraft is still in theater today and has flown the last 3 days using a mod-s call sign of Cuppy 50. Time to pay closer attention to those foxtrot messages.

Full AP story at

RC-135U Combat Sent

The RC-135U Combat Sent provides strategic electronic reconnaissance information to the president, secretary of defense, Department of Defense leaders, and theater commanders. Locating and identifying foreign military land, naval and airborne radar signals, the Combat Sent collects and minutely examines each system, providing strategic analysis for warfighters. Collected data is also stored for further analysis by the joint warfighting and intelligence communities. The Combat Sent deploys worldwide and is employed in peacetime and contingency operations.

All RC-135U aircraft are equipped with an aerial refueling system, giving it an unlimited flying range. Communication equipment includes high frequency, very high frequency, and ultra high frequency radios. The navigation equipment incorporates ground navigation radar, a solid state Doppler system, and an inertial navigation system that merges celestial observations and Global Positioning System data. Although the flight crew stations are similarly configured, the reconnaissance equipment is slightly unique within each airframe.

The aircraft are identified by their distinctive antennae arrays on the "chin" and wing tips, large cheek fairings, and extended tail.

Crew composition includes two pilots, one navigator, two airborne systems engineers, and a minimum of 10 electronic warfare officers, or "Ravens," and six or more electronic, technical, and area specialists.

There are only two Combat Sent aircraft in the Air Force inventory and both are assigned to the 55th Wing at Offutt AFB, Neb. The RC-135U aircraft are manned by Air Combat Command crews from the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron and the 97th Intelligence Squadron (of the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency). The Combat Sent is composed of a wide variety of commercial off-the-shelf and proprietary hardware and software. Its current configuration allows for both manual and automatic analysis of electronic signals. By combining manual systems with the Automatic Electronic Emitter Locating System, Ravens and intelligence specialists can simultaneously locate, identify, and analyze multiple electronic signals.

The Combat Sent records these signals for future reference or for extensive analysis by electronic systems theorists. Any information garnered from the data will help determine detailed operating characteristics and capabilities of foreign systems. Evasion techniques and equipment are then developed from this knowledge that will detect, warn of, or defeat these electronic systems.

General Characteristics
Primary function: Electronic intelligence reconnaissance and surveillance
Contractor: Boeing Aerospace
Power Plant: Four CFM International F108-CF-201 high bypass turbofan engines
Thrust: 21,600 pounds per engine
Wingspan: 135 feet, 1 inch (41.4 meters)
140 feet, 1 inch (42.6 meters)
Height: 41 feet, 8 inches (12.7 meters)
Weight: 165,7000 (75,160 kilograms)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 299,000 pounds (135,626.4 kilograms)
Fuel Capacity: 130,000 pounds (58,967 kilograms)
Speed: 500+ miles per hour (Mach 0.66)
Range: 4,000 nautical miles
Ceiling: 35,000+ feet (10,668+ meters)
Crew: Two pilots, one navigator, two airborne systems engineers, and a minimum of 10 electronic warfare officers (flight crew from 45th RS) and six or more mission area specialists (mission crew from 97th IS)
Unit Cost: Not available
Initial operational capability: April 1964
Inventory: Active force, 2; ANG, 0; Reserve, 0 

Thursday, April 09, 2015

US aerospace command moving comms gear back to Cold War bunker

Blog Editor's Note: YahooNews has picked up the following AFP story. HF radio monitors should keep an eye on the following frequencies for activity related to this story (Mode ALE/USB): 4950.0 6770.0 7718.5 7990.0 9350.0 10800.0 12090.0 14550.0 kHz

Washington (AFP) - The US military command that scans North America's skies for enemy missiles and aircraft plans to move its communications gear to a Cold War-era mountain bunker, officers said.
The shift to the Cheyenne Mountain base in Colorado is designed to safeguard the command's sensitive sensors and servers from a potential electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, military officers said.

The Pentagon last week announced a $700 million contract with Raytheon Corporation to oversee the work for North American Aerospace Command (NORAD) and US Northern Command.

Admiral William Gortney, head of NORAD and Northern Command, said that "because of the very nature of the way that Cheyenne Mountain's built, it's EMP-hardened."

"And so, there's a lot of movement to put capability into Cheyenne Mountain and to be able to communicate in there," Gortney told reporters.

"My primary concern was... are we going to have the space inside the mountain for everybody who wants to move in there, and I'm not at liberty to discuss who's moving in there," he said.

The Cheyenne mountain bunker is a half-acre cavern carved into a mountain in the 1960s that was designed to withstand a Soviet nuclear attack. From inside the massive complex, airmen were poised to send warnings that could trigger the launch of nuclear missiles.

But in 2006, officials decided to move the headquarters of NORAD and US Northern Command from Cheyenne to Petersen Air Force base in Colorado Springs. The Cheyenne bunker was designated as an alternative command center if needed.
That move was touted a more efficient use of resources but had followed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of modernization work at Cheyenne carried out after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Now the Pentagon is looking at shifting communications gear to the Cheyenne bunker, officials said.

"A lot of the back office communications is being moved there," said one defense official.

Officials said the military's dependence on computer networks and digital communications makes it much more vulnerable to an electromagnetic pulse, which can occur naturally or result from a high-altitude nuclear explosion.

Under the 10-year contract, Raytheon is supposed to deliver "sustainment" services to help the military perform "accurate, timely and unambiguous warning and attack assessment of air, missile and space threats" at the Cheyenne and Petersen bases.
Raytheon's contract also involves unspecified work at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

Iran Warships to Yemen

Blog Editor's Note: Look for Iranian Military QPSK/460/600 CF=1100 short crypto databurst traffic on the following frequencies: 5088.0 7988.0 8760.0 10415.0 10418.0 10723.0 15860.0 17382.2 kHz

Other possible Iranian freqeuncies monitored recently include
6265.0 ALE/USB
14508.0 ALE/USB/Codan traffic
16161.0 ALE/USB
The Associated Press is reporting that Iran is dispatching Iranian naval ships to Yemen coastal waters.

"Iran dispatched a naval destroyer and another logistic vessel on Wednesday to waters near Yemen as the United States quickened weapons supply to the Saudi-led coalition striking rebels there, underlining how foreign powers are deepening their involvement in the conflict.
"Iran's English-language state broadcaster Press TV quoted Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari as saying the ships would be part of an anti-piracy campaign "safeguarding naval routes for vessels in the region."

Complete story at

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Russian Navy RAL2 Guided Star Network UDXF Backgrounder

Trond Jacobsen who is located in the Hvaler archipelago, SE Norway,  shared the following interesting monitoring information on the UDXF newsgroup this morning. If you are a Russian Navy buff, you will find this as interesting as I did.
From Trond's UDXF Post:

Some recent interesting findings:
* During the 22utc rc slot on the 5th of April RDU2 was called by an unid station with this command:
"rdu2 de nrzj qsa bk" nothing further received from either party
* RHW2 is almost all the time slightly off frequency.
* Compared with the cluster beacon S on 10871.9 / 13327.9 both RAL2 and RMW2 are prob located in the NW of Russia. Both these stations are strong when the S beacon are too. No other stations in the RAL2 net are heard when the "S" beacons are the solitary ones heard on the cluster beacon frequencies.

Here is a compilation of available data at this end for the "elusive" RAL2 guided star network. (with some detail of loggings at the various frequencies, frequencies with "no further info" are from 3rd party sources, - and are not possible to verify due to rx location)

RAL2 guided star network

NW1: RFH2, RDU2, RHW2, RBL71, RHM2,(RBL62)
NW2: RGH2, RMW2, RHQ2, RBL66, RBI2,(RBL672,RIB2)
NW3: RLM2, RKA2, RBL70, RLO2
NWxx, (outstations not clearly showing up in a specific net): (RIB2, RBL62, RBL672), RKY2, RBY45, RBY46, RDO2, RAI2

Frequency usage: 3314, 3747, 4051, 4970, 4978, 4979, 5797, 5823, 5947, 6989, 7019, 7860, 7861, 8002.5, 9933, 10263, 10425, 12807, 13973, 13975, 13985, 14974, 14975

03314.0 ---: RAL2, RDU2, RHW2, RKA2
03747.0 RAL2: 1703, clg RBY46 (29/Jan/2005)
04051.0 RAL2: 1602, sx rc w/RLM2, RKA2, RBL70 (after qrt of SLB "P" of Naval HQ Kaliningrad) (11/DEC/2007)
04051.0 RAL2: 1600, 1920, rc w/RKA2, RLO2 RBL70, then QRU sk (08/JAN/2010)
04051.0 RAL2: 1810, rc w/RLO2, RBL70 (21/Feb/2012)
04051.0 RAL2: 1830, clg RLO2, RKA2 for qsa and trfc. Using prosigns; qyt8, qlx, qrs, znn (06/JAN/xxxx)
NOTE: 4051 was also in use for strategic bcasts. EX: (04051.0---: Unid CIS Navy station 1507, f1A fsk morse;" RDL RDL RDL 52641 78383 52641 78383 52641 78383 k" (08/JAN2008) )
04970.0 RAL2: w/RHQ2, RBL66
04978.0 RAL2: w/RMW2
04979.0 RAL2: 1620, sx rc w/RHQ2, RMW2, qtc # 290 to RGH2 (11/DEC/xxxx)
04979.0 RMW2: 1919, clg RAL2 for qsa? (25/FEB/2010)
04979.0 RAL2 : 2212, clg RBL66 for qsa "RBL66 DE RAL2 QSA?" RAL66 replies: "RAL2 de RBL66 qsa2 K" ... "qsa4 znn znn sk" (03/DEC/xxxx)
04979.0 RKA2: 0503, CW clg RLO2 for qsa? (23/Nov/xxxx)
04979.0 RAL2: 0510, CW clg RKA2 "qsa3 znn znn va". 0513 "RLO2 de RAL2 qsa?" "qsa1 znn va" (23/NOV/xxxx)
04979.0 RAL2: 0514, CW clg RBL70 "qsa?" (23/NOV/xxxx)
NOTE: va (...- / .-) mistaken for sk (... / -.-) (?)
04979.12 RAL2: ITU terrestrial monitoring, coordinates given as 33 E 44 55 N 20 (west of Moscow, near Vyazma)Only radio related fascility near those coordinates are the 82nd Special Designation RC

05797.0 ---: no further info

05823.0 RAL2: w/RLO2

05947.0 RAL2: 1808, w/RMW2,RHQ2, RBL66, called also RBL672 but this one not audible. (14/APR/xxxx)

06989.0 RAL2: 18:08, sx rc w/RIB2, RHQ2 (30/MAY/xxxx)
06989.0 RBL672: 1604, sx rc w/RAL2 (12/JUN/2011)
06989.0 RAL2: 0009, sx wkg RMW2, RHQ2, RBL66, RBL672 & RIB2. 0409, wkg RKA2, RLO2, RBL70 (id RBL7T). 1502, sx rc w/RBL66, RBL672 (17/SEP/11)
06989.0 RAL2 :2008, sx wkg RHQ2 RBL66, ending w/ znn sk (24/MAY/14)
06989.0 RAL2: 1925 clg "RHW2 de RAL2 = xxx 73727 k".(14/SEP/xxxx)
06989.0 RAL2: 1610, sx rc w/RHW2, RDU2, RFH2, qtc, later "qtc nr 4828 gr 63 24 11 == FFFFF BYYAN DDDDD+ PPP+ DDDSS SOOOS SSGGG JJJRR RRRRRI IIRRR ==' and 5 LGS
06989.0 ---: 1605 CW Weak. "qsa1 znn va" (07/JUL/xxxx)(DW)

07019.0 RAL2: 1215-1530, w/RMW2 and others (xx/xxx/xxxx)
07019.0 RAL2: 0858, w/RKA2 (02/JUN/xxxx)
07019.0 RAL2: 0606, w/RLO2, RKA2, RBL70 (06/JUN/xxxx)
07019.0 RAL2: 2042, w/RBL71, RBL672,RBL66 (18/JUN/xxxx)
07019.0 RAL2: 2106, w/RIB2, RMW2,RHQ2,RBL66, RBL672 (24/JUN/xxxx)
07019.0 RAL2: 2107, w/ RMW2, RBL66, RBL672 (24/JUN/xxxx)
07019.0 RAL2: 1600, 2108, sx rc w/RHQ2 and others (07/MAY/2004)

07860.0 RAL2: w/RDO2

07861.0 RAL2: 0114, sx rc w/RFH2, RDU2, RHW2. Later: "rfh2 rfh2 rfh2 de ral2 ral2 qsa qsa no no no znn znn k" (17/DEC/2009)
07861.0 RAL2: 1611, sx rc w/RFH2 (17/JAN/2010)
07861.0 RAL2: 1335, opchat; " qyt4 qta k as", later: "rhw2 de ral2 k qsa2 znn", "rfh2 de ral2 k" (16/FEB/2010)
07861.0 RAL2: 1510, 1801, w/RDU2, RFH2, 1617, w/RHW2 (04/APR/2009) (13/sep/xxxx)
07861.0 RAL2: 19:00, sx rc w/RHW2 RFH2 RDU2, RBL71 (21/MAR/xxxx)
07861.0 RAL2: 1607, sx rc w/RHW2 (25/MAR/2011)
07861.0 RAL2: 1810, clg RFH2, RDU2, RBL71, as usual RBL71 has difficulty hearing RAL2, rx Alaska (31/DEC/2011)
07861.0 RAL2: 1710, clg RBD2, RCQ64 (xx/xxx/xxxx)
07861.0 RAL2: 1558, opchat w/RFH2, RBL62 (08/DEC/2002)
07861.0 RFH2: fsk vvv before the rc with ral2. The only “real” tfc  heard so far was some years ago on 7861 kHz: "rfh2 de ral2 aa slv svd zbr Ö 13975 qtr 0800 - aa slv sld zbr Ö 99933 qtr 2000 ok ?"

08002.5 RAL2: outstations unknown, (frequency err ???) no further info

09933.0 RAL2: 1900, ITU terrestrial monitoring, neither bearing nor coordinates given.

10263.0  RAL2: 0711, w/RMW2, 0800, w/RGH2 (18/MAR/xxxx)
10263.0  RAL2: 0615, w/RHQ2 (10/APR/xxxx)
10263.0  RAL2: 0623; RMW2 (23/APR/xxxx)

10425.0 RAL2: 1107, sx rc w/RBI2, RGH2, RMW2, RHQ2, RBL66 (12/JUL/2014)

12807 RAL2: outstations unknown

13973.0 ---: no further info

13975.0 RAL2: 0839, clg wkg w/RBL62 - (04/MAR/xxxx)
13975.0 RAL2: 1205, sx rc w/RHW2, 1211, w/RBL71 (14/APR/2011)
13975.0 RAL2: 1102,  sx rc w/RFH2, RDU2, RHW2, RBL71 (12/JUL/2014)
13975.0 RDU2: 0604, sx clg RAL2 (14/APR/2002)
13975.0 RBL62:  opchat: "de RBL62 ... qrj"... "as" (15/SEP/xxxx)
13975.0 RAL2: 0503, sx rc w/RFH2, RHW2, RDU2, RBL62 (14/MAR/02)

13985.0 ---: no further info

14974.0  RAL2: 0407, sx rc w/RDU2, RWH2, RBL62.(10/JUN/2002)

14975.0  RAL2: 0355, sx rc w/RFH2 RDU2 RBL62 (30/JUL/2002)


Intent of Russian military aircraft near U.S. shores remains unclear

Monitoring Russian aircraft

Interesting article on the Los Angeles Times website by W.J. Hennigan re: Russian Bear aircraft flights near Alaska and other NATO countries.

"U.S. F-22 fighter jets scrambled about 10 times last year — twice as often as in 2013 — to monitor and photograph Russian Tu-95 "Bear" bombers and MiG-31 fighter jets that flew over the Bering Sea without communicating with U.S. air controllers or turning on radio transponders, which emit identifying signals.

"The Russian flights are in international airspace, and it's unclear whether they are testing U.S. defenses, patrolling the area or simply projecting a newly assertive Moscow's global power.

"They're obviously messaging us," said Flores, a former Olympic swimmer who is in charge of Tin City and 14 other radar stations scattered along the vast Alaskan coast. "We still don't know their intent."

"U.S. officials view the bombers — which have been detected as far south as 50 miles off California's northern coast — as deliberately provocative. They are a sign of the deteriorating ties between Moscow and the West since Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region in March of last year and its military intervention to support separatists in eastern Ukraine.
"Similar Russian flights in Europe have irked leaders in Britain, Ireland, Sweden, Norway and elsewhere. In January, British authorities were forced to reroute commercial aircraft after Russian bombers flew over the English Channel with their transponders off.

"In all, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization says its jets scrambled to monitor Russian warplanes around Europe more than 100 times last year, about three times as many as in 2013. Russian air patrols outside its borders were at their highest level since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, NATO said.

"We're experiencing a reawakening of the strategic importance of the Arctic," said Navy Adm. William E. Gortney, commander of the Pentagon's Northern Command and of the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

"Is this a second Cold War? It doesn't matter what we think," Gortney said. "Maybe they think the Cold War never ended."

You can read the entire article at