Russian jets turns up uninvited to major NATO war-games: Russian Navy Tu-142 Flies “Over” USS Mount Whitney
Russian Navy Tu-142 anti-submarine warfare aircraft Flies “Over” USS Mount Whitney in the Norwegian Sea. Tu-142 Bear-F long-range maritime patrol reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft made a “surprise visit” to the USS Mount Whitney, off the Norwegian coast.
Marines on board USS Mount Whitney off the Norwegian coast, had gathered for a group photo on deck when the Tupolev TU-142, RF-34063 / 56 RED based on AFP photographs, flying in international airspace, soared more or less overhead, on Nov. 2, 2018.
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“It’s a long-range maritime patrol reconnaissance plane,” said one fascinated marine after casting an expert eye over the visitor.
Although he had seen plenty of images of the aircraft, this was the first time he had seen it live, so to speak.
Russia has already made clear its displeasure at NATO’s Trident Juncture exercises, the largest by the alliance since the end of the Cold War.
? #NOTAM – Norwegian Sea:
?? Russian Navy 'ROCKET TEST FIRINGS'
"RECEIVED FROM MAIN AIR TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT CENTER OF RUSSIA
THIS IS TO INFORM YOU THAT The RUSSIAN NAVY PLAN TO ROCKET TEST FIRINGS IN THE BASIN OF THE NORWEGIAN SEA: 01, 02, 03 NOV 2018.
DAILY 0700-1400." pic.twitter.com/hfENipSxDZ
— CivMilAir ✈ (@CivMilAir) October 30, 2018
According to the Russian Ministry of Defence, two Tupolev TU-142 carried out a “planned flight” of more than 12 hours.
“All flights by the Russian fleet’s maritime planes are carried out strictly in accordance with international airspace regulations,” the ministry said on Saturday, according to state news agency RIA Novosti.
USS Mount Whitney is involved in Exercise Trident Juncture, NATO’s largest such drills in 20 years which runs through Nov. 7 and simulate an Art. 5 response to an armed attack against one ally.
Needless to say, Russia has already made public its displeasure over the exercise that is considered an anti-Russian show of force. Consequently, Moscow announced plans to perform rocket test firings in the basin of the Norwegian Sea, from Nov. 1-3.
1230z: Map showing RAF Voyager ZZ331 Y0H64. Russian aircraft seem to have followed the Norwegian coastline in international airspace down to the North Sea to around the point of Stavanger and turned back north pic.twitter.com/INdAnyNMo9
— Mil Radar (@MIL_Radar) November 2, 2018
Along with the missile tests in an area close to TJ exercise, on Oct. 31, Russia said two of its Tu-160 strategic bombers carried out a 10-hour routine mission over the Barents and Norwegian seas. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO drills would continue as planned. “I don’t expect that that will cause any serious problems, but as I said we will follow the movement of the Russian maritime capabilities closely, and they are informed about our exercise, so we do whatever we can to avoid any dangerous situation.”
According to Avinor, the public operator of most civil airports in Norway, Russia sent a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) about the missile tests Nov 1-3 in the Norwegian Sea.
Any missile testing “will not change the plan of our exercise,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.
“We have not seen anything resembling a missile test, or even ships or aircraft in the area that would be relevant to documenting or monitoring missile testing,” said Robert Aguilar, captain of the USS Mount Whitney.
Top image: AFP Photo/Jonathan Nackstrand