It is just a matter of time before these flights go real world in an instant. Forget Iran, I say we hit Russia with a surprise HAARP and nuke attack.........DONE DEAL. Then arrest the American liberal traitors..........
U.S. Northern Command, which protects North American airspace, told The Washington Times that TU-95 Bear bombers on 18 occasions the past year have skirted a 12-mile air defense identification zone that protects Alaska. The incursions prompted F-15s and F-22 Raptor fighters to scramble from Elmendorf Air Force Base and intercept the warplanes. The last incident happened in May.
"Putin is trying to get the military rejuvenated and trying to show they are a military power," said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas G. McInerney, who commanded NORAD's Alaska region. "He's doing it for a whole host of things. It's really muscle-flexing."
When told that 18 Russian incursions had been reported in 12 months, Mr. McInerney said, "That's a lot."
Mr. Putin, who relinquished the presidency in May and is now prime minister, has been at odds with President Bush over NATO expansion and the invasion of Iraq. At times, he has made strong anti-U.S. statements that stirred Cold War memories.
A NorthCom statement to The Times said, "Russia has indicated in open press reporting its intention to proceed with navigation and operational training."
Mr. McInerney said the incursions are the most sophisticated since the Cold War. He made the assessment based on an Air Force briefing he received last fall at Elmendorf.
The retired general called the exercises "coordinated attacks coming into our air defense identification zone. They are very sophisticated attack training maneuvers. These incursions are far more sophisticated than anything we had seen before."