The commander of U.S. air forces, General Herbert Carlisle said an F-15 fighter jet had intercepted a Russian “Bear,” a designation for the Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bomber that flew toward Guam, where the U.S. has military facilities, east of the Philippines. Carlisle said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington that Russia also had boosted maritime activity. He also said Russia has “increased drastically” its long-range bomber patrols in northeast Asia as ties with America’s allies deteriorate over upheaval in Ukraine.
Photographer: Konstantin Zavrazhin/Getty Images/Bloomberg
Gen. Herbert Carlisle was speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a bipartisan Washington DC think tank, on May 5th and said there had been long-range Russian air patrols to the coast of California and a circumnavigation of the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. He noted that a U.S. F-15 fighter jet intercepted a Russian strategic bomber that had flown to Guam.
Gen. Herbert J. “Hawk” Carlisle is the Commander of Pacific Air Forces; Air Component Commander for U.S. Pacific Command; and Executive Director, Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. As the PACAF, and he is responsible for Air Force activities spread over half the globe in a command that supports 45,000 Airmen serving principally in Japan, Korea, Hawaii, Alaska and Guam.
General Carlisle associated the increased activity and incursions to the situation in the Ukraine and said Russia was demonstrating its capabilities and gathering intelligence on U.S. military exercises. Carlisle also admitted that there has been a sharp increase in Russian air patrols around Japanese islands and Korea. General Carlisle added that there was more Russian ship activity in the area, too.
The California incursions may have also involved Tupolev Tu-95 Bear Bombers, which were the Soviet Union’s first intercontinental strategic bomber.
Putin’s demonstrations of air strength impelled Japan to scramble fighter jets for seven consecutive days in April in response to what the Asian nation’s defense chief described as “abnormal” Russian flights. Minister Itsunori Onodera reported that the patrols were more frequent than during the Cold War, Kyodo reported. Russia responded that the flights were in accordance with international law and urged Japan to return to talks with Russia on avoiding dangerous military activity.