The Russian military plans on sending Tu-160 supersonic bombers to its sub-Arctic, eastern maritime borders this year, Lieutenant-General of the Russian Aerospace Forces, Sergei Kobylash, said Friday.
“This year we are planning to fly to Anadyr also with Tu-160 aircraft. Now the Arctic is of strategic importance for us, that’s why we are developing new aerodromes and products for ourselves, which will ensure the country’s security from the maritime borders and in this direction. With the expansion of the spectrum and the scale of the problem are increasing. Accordingly, the requirements for the command of long-range aviation. Therefore, the attention of the leadership of the state to us is appropriate,” Lt.-General Kobylash said in an interview with the Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) newspaper.
Anadyr is Russia’s easternmost Arctic port town. For the first time, Russia recently flew a Tu-22 bomber to Anadyr, according to Lt.-General Kobylash. He said the more advanced Tu-160 would be arriving at the sub-Arctic airfield in Anadyr this year — a 5oo-mile flight from Nome, Alaska.
He added that the increasing use of these bombers confirms that Russia is expanding its geographical network of military flights.
“Flights of strategic bomber-rocket-bomber crews to the equator, to Indonesia say that the range of tasks increases along with the range of those directions and airfields on which we are entrusted to designate our presence,” Lt.-General Kobylash emphasized.
Since 2017, an increasing amount of U.S. warplanes have been intercepting Russian bombers off Alaska’s coast. Last week’s intercept was marked by U.S. F-22 Raptors escorting large Russian bombers in international airspace within 200 miles of Alaska’s coast for roughly 40 minutes.
“We regularly encounter them, especially during air patrolling,” Kobylash said, “Near the borders of their countries, the aviation of these countries have the same right to escort us as we do to patrol flights.”
Here is footage of the intercept:
According to Newsweek, Russian President Vladimir Putin is quickly rebuilding military bases and airfields in Arctic territories, known as the Soviet-era Arctic triangle.
“President Putin has unveiled two multi-purpose bases in lands adjacent to the Arctic circle since 2015 and four more are planned to follow. Experts have likened Russia’s rebuilding of bases and airfields in Arctic territories to a restoration of the Soviet-era Arctic triangle, spanning the Kola and Kamchatka peninsulas. Whether any of these facilities will be operating near full capacity in times of peace, it is not clear.
Some of the upgrades have focused on Russia’s northeast, in the direction of the U.S. and Canada, where Moscow has deployed a new radar and sent anti-submarine aircraft to explore a new route through the North Pole —a journey not carried out since the Soviet Union’s collapse. “
In this regard, it seems as Russia is increasing its military capabilities and capacities in the Arctic region to a much higher degree than the West has ever seen or done in the area before. We ask one question: Why does Russia want to store supersonic bombers 500 miles from Alaska?