PUTIN’S GAMBLE: Two Russian Bombers Buzz U.S. Aircraft Carrier
Fighter jets from the USS Ronald Reagan scrambled to intercept two Russian bombers that flew within one mile of the carrier during the latest saber-rattling by Moscow.
“There were two Russian Tu-142 Bear aircraft that approached the USS Ronald Reagan on the morning of Oct. 27 … while the Reagan was operating in the Sea of Japan,” said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.
Four F/A-18 jets were launched from the carrier to intercept and escort the Russian aircraft, he added.
“The interaction was characterized as safe,” Davis said, noting that prudent defensive action was taken by the carrier.
Asked whether the aircraft posed a threat, Davis said: “Anytime there are aircraft operating in close proximity to a U.S. Navy ship, particularly an aircraft carrier, we’re going to take action to launch and make sure we are tracking it very closely.”
“But there was nothing to indicate they were posing a direct threat,” he said.
During the incident, however, the Russian two aircraft, anti-submarine warfare versions of the Tu-95 Bear nuclear-capable bomber, were flying at a height of only 500 feet and came within a mile of the Reagan.
The encounter in the Sea of Japan was the latest in a series of Russian aerial operations near U.S. ships and aircraft that Pentagon officials have said in the past is “strategic messaging” by Moscow.
Russian has adopted a hostile posture toward the United States first over the deployment of U.S. missile defenses in Europe, and then in response to sanctions and other measures taken against Russia for its military annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea last year.
Senior U.S. military leaders have said Russia is emerging as a major threat to the United States because of its strategic nuclear forces buildup and a new military doctrine under Vladimir Putin, that calls for greater reliance on nuclear forces.
Davis said communications sailors on a warship sailing with the Reagan strike group of ships attempted to radio the two Russian aircraft when they were detected but received no response.
Davis said he is unaware that the United States issued a protest of the maneuver that was similar to other aerial encounters between U.S. ships and aircraft and Russian…..
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