Meanwhile, Defense Daily reports a recent resurgence of flights by Russian Tupelov [sic] Tu-95 "Bear" and Tu-160 "Blackjack" bombers off the coasts of NATO countries. U.S. Air Force officials say the Russians have not been following accepted international safety protocols: They have not been filing flight plans, they have not been in radio contact with air traffic controllers, and bomber crews have been turning of their transponders, which complicate their integration into the European air traffic control scheme.
Что нашим бомбардировщикам их буржуазные safety protocols...
USAFE: Russian Bomber Flights Off European Coast Raise Safety Concerns</span>
By Michael Sirak RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany--The recent resurgence of flights by Russian Tupelov Tu-95 Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack long-range bomber aircraft in international airspace off the coasts of NATO countries, while not viewed as...
UPDATE: Текст статьи
Defense Daily International
November 30, 2007 Friday
USAFE: Russian Bomber Flights Off European Coast Raise Safety Concerns
SECTION: Vol. 8 No. 46
LENGTH: 830 words
Tupelov Tu-95 Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack long-range bomber aircraft in
international airspace off the coasts of NATO countries, while not viewed as
threatening, does raise safety concerns, since the Russians have not been
following accepted international protocols, senior Air Force generals said here.
The Russians, they said, are not filing flightplans prior to takeoff in
accordance with the norms established by the International Civil Aviation
Organization (ICAO), an agency of the United Nations that oversees global air
navigation. Further, the Russian aircrews do not turn on their aircraft's
transponders in flight so that the aircraft can be interrogated for
identification purposes. Nor do they interact with air traffic controllers as
the bombers traverse the airspace over the waters of the Baltic and North Seas,
"I have asked that we see if we can talk them into putting ICAO
flightplans in," Gen. William Hobbins, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe
(USAFE), said Nov. 14 during a meeting with reporters.
Hobbins said relations with the Russian Air Force are good and he is
always looking to deepen the ties. He has lead USAFE since December 2005; he is
While the Russians do provide some advanced notice that there will be
upcoming bomber flights, they provide no details, Hobbins said.
"That's a heads up. I really appreciate that," he said. Nonetheless, he
said, he wishes that the Russians would do more.
"When we fly in international airspace, we fly ICAO flightplans," said
Hobbins. "We file them. We say we are going to go this route at this altitude at
this airspeed and we are going to depart at this time and land at this time.
Obviously Russian civil aircraft do that. Aeroflot clearly fly on ICAO
"What I would recommend, and I have, is that NATO take up a discussion
with the Russians that, when they fly their long-range aviation, they put them
on ICAO flightplans and that they talk to the international agencies as we do
when we cross the ocean."
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in August that Russian
strategic bombers, which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons, would be
resuming regular patrols beyond Russia's borders into the Atlantic and Pacific
Oceans and over the North Pole as had been done during the Cold War. Russia
suspended such flights about 15 years ago after the breakup of the Soviet Union,
sending its long-range bombers out beyond Russian territorial airspace only
during major military exercises.
At the time of Putin's announcement, the White House said it did not view
the flights as disconcerting.
In the European theater, the Russian bombers usually fly in pairs from
their bases inside Russia, then fly out over the coast into international
airspace over the Baltic Sea, then fly along the coasts of the Scandanavian
nations into the North Sea, eventually turning around and heading home.
"There has been over the last three to four months a general increase in
[Russian] long-range aviation activity," said Maj. Gen. James Hunt, USAFE's
director of Air and Space Operations. "That it is an increase that we haven't
seen for a number of years."
Hunt said he has seen nothing antagonistic in the Russian flights. But
like Hobbins, he said, USAFE is concerned about safety-of-flight issues.
"Typically these long-range aviation missions don't follow a flight
plan," he said. "They don't talk to established air traffic control mechanisms,
and, as a result, with all of the additional air traffic crossing the Atlantic,
far more than even [during] the Cold War, there is a safety of flight issue to
make sure that we can at least track them and have some idea of where they are
"We would prefer," he continued, "if they would announce the flights,
follow a flight plan and talk to the appropriate controlling agences so that we
could make sure we deconflicted [them] from commercial traffic."
Lacking these actions by the Russians, NATO has been following standard
procedures for identifying and monitoring the Russian bombers in the air, just
as the alliance would for any unidentified aircraft, Hunt said.
"When an aircraft enters the radar coverage of one of [the] NATO
countries, they go through a whole procedure to try to identify the aircraft,"
he said. "If it has a transponder squawk and they can match it up to a flight
plan, then it is identified. [If not] they try to call on the radio on the
standard hailing frequency, either UHF or VHF."
When there is no flight plan on record and no response to the transponder
squawks and radio inquiries, NATO will then dispatch fighter aircraft to
visually identify the aircraft to make sure that they pose no threat, Hunt said.
In most cases, the fighters will then accompany the bombers in a chase position
to ensure that they do not violate anyone's sovereign airspace, he said.
To date, Norwegian and U.K. fighters, and not U.S. aircraft, have been
intercepting the Russian bombers, since they are the ones on alert in the
sectors that the Russians have been traversing, Hunt said.