WASHINGTON, (BM) – Training flight over the Arctic Ocean and the Laptev Sea was conducted by American strategic bombers Boeing B-52H Stratofortress, learned BulgarianMilitary.com according a report of the command of the US Air Force in Europe and Africa.
Four B-52H bombers took off from Minot, North Dakota. They were accompanied by the Norwegian F-16 and F-35 fighters. The Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker tanker planes, which flew from Aelson air base in Alaska, helped to overcome the distance of almost 6 thousand kilometers and back to American bombers.
“The Arctic is a strategic region with growing geopolitical and global significance, and these missions of the Bomber Task Force demonstrate our commitment to our partners and allies and our ability to restrain, provide and protect each other in an increasingly complex environment,” said the US Air Force Commander in Europe and Africa General Jeffrey Harrigian.
Recall that on board the strategic Boeing B-52H bombers are now located not free-falling nuclear bombs, but AGM-86B air-launched cruise missiles with a nuclear warhead. Such missiles are launched from a long distance when the bombers are out of range of enemy air defense. In the future, it is planned to replace them with rockets made using stealth technology.
Russian interests for the Arctic
In the last few months, Russia has renewed its military interest in the strategic importance of the Arctic. The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation announced on December 9 last year that the Northern Fleet will arm all its Arctic battalions with S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems in coming years to create an air defense dome over the Arctic.
As we reported units of a new air defense formation have gone on experimental combat duty in Tiksi to provide security of the airspace over the Northern Sea Route.
“In the future, we are planning to build up the air defense capabilities of Russia’s northern frontiers,” the Fleet Commander Vice-Admiral Alexander Moiseyev stressed then.
The anxiety of the United States and NATO allies
The US recognizes Russia’s “legitimate interests” in the Arctic, but is concerned about the construction of the Russian military infrastructure in the region. This was announced during a telephone briefing by a representative of the State Department of high rank on April 24.
According to him, Russia is promoting an agenda in the region that is contrary to the interests of the United States, its allies and partners.
“The US recognizes Russia’s legitimate interests in the Arctic, Russia is a member of the Arctic Council,” said the diplomat. “We are interacting with Russia and other Arctic countries on a number of issues, including oil spill response, search and rescue operations, [pollution control]. Work is ongoing, we want to continue it, we have no concern about this.”
“However, we are concerned about the construction of Russian military facilities in the Arctic. The Russian presence has grown significantly in recent years, the Arctic command has been created, airfields and other infrastructure have been restored. Deep sea ports, new military bases along the coast have been created, efforts are continuing to deploy air defense and missile systems, early radars detection”, aslo the diplomat added.
BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that on May 17 US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Michael Murphy said that the growing Russian military presence in the Arctic threatens NATO’s anti-submarine defense line in the North Atlantic.
“China and Russia are increasingly striving to challenge the interests of the United States, the West and the Allies. <…> And the Arctic is no exception,” the American diplomat said.
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