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Why are American bombers increasingly appearing on Russia’s borders?

This post was published in Vzglyad. The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.

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MOSCOW, (BM) – NATO military aircraft, including even bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons, are increasingly appearing at Russian borders. Why has the frequency of their appearance near Russia increased? The short answer to this question is that the US military is setting specific targets for strikes on Russian territory – and doing so with increasing intensity.

The frequency of the appearance of NATO combat and reconnaissance aircraft near the borders of Russia made even Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu speak out, who called such activity in the sky “alarming”. These flights have now begun to be performed, including with imitation of missile strikes on Russian territory.

Americans are used to making money on everything, including wars, which are also considered good business. In general, as in rhyming words: “We live like in Norway – to whom the war, and to whom the privileges.” Not so long ago, even US President Donald Trump himself drew attention to this. He said the Pentagon “seeks to wage wars in order to contribute to the enrichment of the military-industrial complex” of the country. According to him, the US military is ready to get involved in any fight, because they are trying to make the arms companies happy.

This message from Trump is not unfounded – the US military budget for the 2020 financial year increased to $ 738 billion (he signed it himself) and exceeded the previous one by $ 22 billion. The US President explained the growth of defense spending by the need for a more active US struggle with Russia and China, and the spending will go not only on the construction of military bases and training of troops, but also on the production of the latest weapons.

The Pentagon has happily set about mastering the defense budget. Among the “work off” was designated and the containment of “aggressiveness” of Russia by controlling its airspace through reconnaissance and demonstration of force.

This is only the visible part of the iceberg in explaining the reasons for the intensification of the actions of US aviation near the borders of Russia. There are also exclusively military aspects. The first of these, over the decades of the Cold War, and then of subsequent Russian-American relations, is intelligence activities. US reconnaissance aircraft day and night circled not only near the borders of the Soviet Union, but also tried to penetrate deep into its territory, which ended with the U-2 shot down on May 1, 1960 in the Sverdlovsk [now Yekaterinburg] area with pilot Francis Powers. Today, US military aircraft do not dare to violate Russian airspace, but they use every opportunity to conduct aerial reconnaissance in the immediate vicinity of our borders.

“The purpose of such flights is to reveal the electronic situation in order to determine the modes of operation of the forces and means of the Russian anti-aircraft situation, to determine the coordinates of deployed anti-aircraft missile systems and their radars, to intercept information from radio relay lines between headquarters, to assess the capabilities of the grouping of forces deployed in various regions of the country” military expert Alexander Drobyshevsky tells the newspaper VZGLYAD.

“This is a common practice in the intelligence of many countries. After all, we, too, are closely monitoring a potential adversary and simply have to know about the plans and capabilities of our potential rivals. But a certain practice has developed, a kind of “code of honor”, when intelligence activities should not interfere with the safety of civilians. We do not break these rules. But the Americans began to act openly arrogantly, recklessly, literally on the verge of a foul. And their activity is now noticeable in many areas” also he said.

According to the head of the Russian defense department, it has increased by more than 30 percent compared to last year. And if in August last year 87 flights were recorded, now there are about 120. Russian aviation rises to intercept foreign reconnaissance aircraft almost every day, or even several times a day.

The interests of US aerial reconnaissance are now concentrated in the Far East and over the Baltic Sea, where the activity of their flights is obvious. Flying American “eyes and ears” have been spotted in the Black Sea and in the North, including the Arctic. In fact, they are trying to subject all of Russia’s borders to total control – such activity was not observed even during the Cold War. The flight zones of reconnaissance aircraft are clearly defined – the locations of defense plants, air defense and missile defense systems, and the deployment of ground and naval groupings.

Spy planes are increasingly “grazing” in Syria, as was the case, for example, in June of this year, when the P-8A Poseidon and Aries II patrolled for a long time not far from the Khmeimim airfield, where the Russian Aerospace Forces are based, and the port of Tartus, where there is a logistics base for the Russian Navy. And this was not the first time US aerial reconnaissance has been paying close attention to Russian military installations in the region.

A new feature of American “flights” to the borders of Russia is that not only reconnaissance aircraft, but also bombers, are increasingly taking part in them. More often than others, the strategic bombers B-52H Stratofortress [Stratospheric fortress] appear. This aircraft is capable of carrying various types of weapons – both conventional, high-precision and nuclear. It can be recalled that the B-52 (in service with the US Air Force since 1955) was developed with the main goal of delivering two high-yield thermonuclear bombs to any point in the USSR.

Now Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says that these aircraft are trained to simulate missile strikes, which naturally cannot but be alarming. At the same time, American bombers confidently fly into the zone of operation of the Russian air defense system and literally “appear” on the radars.

“The usual situation with the actions of American bombers near our borders,” Lieutenant General Aytech Bizhev, who served as deputy chief of the Air Force for the joint air defense system of the CIS member states, shared his opinion with the VZGLYAD newspaper. – If we recall the events of thirty years ago, then the activity of the US Air Force planes was thirty percent higher than the current one, it is just that now somehow they don’t even remember about it. The Americans impudently went to our borders, and our fighters just as impudently escorted them out – using afterburner in front of the nose, pouring a ton of kerosene onto the cockpit. Anything has happened, so the current episodes are just flowers compared to the old berries. “

The primary goal of the actions of American military aircraft near our borders remained the same – to provoke the forces and means of the Russian air defense and aerospace forces to reveal their capabilities. The potential of strategic bombers here is no worse than that of reconnaissance aircraft. The same B-52s are packed not only with weapons, but also with equipment that scans the radar space at a distance of up to 800 kilometers.

The American Air Force has a program called “Giant Piggy Bank”, which records the coordinates of all targets on Russian territory: strategic objects, military airfields, the location of air defense systems, and so on. They are constantly updating it, including through regular reconnaissance flights near our territories.

Here we are not talking about practicing air strikes, it is only required to detect possible pockets of resistance from the enemy’s air defense. At the same time, the pilots are testing flight lines to potential theaters of military operations, working out routes.

And the Americans intend to break the air defense system in the future from a long distance, by means of cruise missiles, after which they will try to carry the bomb load to the targets without a particular threat to themselves. In principle, we also act in the same way – Russian Tu-160 and Tu-95 are circling along the coast of Alaska and the United States with the same purpose.

All this is a very expensive pleasure. The cost of one hour spent in the air of the B-2 stealth bomber is about 130 thousand dollars, for the B-52H it is slightly lower, but also impressive, taking into account the fact that it conducts aerial patrols for 10-12 hours. The Pentagon’s budget allows such spending, especially since there is an excuse for them – opening the air defense of Russia. We are also seriously spending money on flights of our “strategists”.

And all this is called “mutual deterrence”, which should not lead to mutual aggression. Will cost everyone more.

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