Sunday, May 20, 2018

Russia Establishes Permanent Presence In Mediterranean Sea As Russian Supersonic Bombers Head To Arctic Borders 500 Miles From Alaska

Russia’s Navy Establishes Permanent Presence in Mediterranean Sea

Russian President Vladimir Putin said a naval standing force, including warships with Kalibr long-range land attack cruise missiles, will be permanently deployed in the Mediterranean Sea. The statement was made at a meeting with top military officials and defense industry leaders that took place in Sochi on May 16. One of the missions is delivering strikes against terrorist targets in Syria. 102 expeditions of ships and submarines are planned in 2018. The force will go through intensive training.
The Russian Black Sea Fleet has become a much different force in comparison to what it was just three years ago. Since 2015, the year the operation in Syria was launched, it has received 15 new ships, including two frigates and six conventional submarines armed with Kalibr cruise missiles. With S-400 and S-300V4 air defense systems, Krasukha-4 electronic warfare systems and shore-based anti-ship Bastion batteries deployed on the Syrian coast, the ships in Eastern Mediterranean operate in a relatively safe environment. Kalibr missiles have already been fired from frigates and submarines at terrorist targets in Syria.
Last July, a 15-strong Mediterranean Task Force was established to be based out of Tartus, Syria’s leased naval facility. The ships provide a buffer on the southern flank of NATO. Russia needs to counter aggressive activities of the bloc in the region, including the Black Sea. Maintaining robust presence in the Mediterranean is the best way to defend Russia’s Black Sea borders.
All southern Europe, including such NATO military assets as Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, Italy, Combined Air Operations Centers in Larissa, Greece, and in Poggio Renatico, Italy, Headquarters Allied Land Command and Air Power Command in Izmir, Turkey, NATO Incirlik air base in Turkey, Graf Ignatievo and Bezmer air bases in Bulgaria used by US Air Force as well as a lot of other key NATO defense infrastructure sites happen to be within the range of Kalibr missiles installed on the platforms patrolling the Mediterranean Sea. They’ll all be knocked out with first salvos in case a Russia-NATO war starts.

The Fleet’s operations are not limited to the Black Sea basin and the Mediterranean. It is on the way of transition from a green-water naval formation to a blue water force, demonstrating the Russian flag as the ships move beyond the Strait of Gibraltar and the Suez Canal on the way to the World Ocean.

The establishment of permanent naval presence in the region can be explained by a number of rational calculations. The Mediterranean Sea is Russia’s only exit to the open ocean for the Black Sea Fleet. The permanent presence is a logical step in view of Russia’s growing political influence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

US Navy deployments in support of ballistic missile defense are viewed as provocative moves to downgrade Russia’s strategic nuclear capability. With Russia’s continuous presence in the region, Aegis ships as well as aircraft carriers become sitting ducks for state-of-the art anti-ship missiles.
Like it or not, the Mediterranean Sea has ceased to be a “NATO Lake” dominated by US 6th Fleet. American vessels don’t own these waters anymore. As a great power, Russia has its own interests in the region and it has a powerful naval force permanently deployed to defend them.

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.”

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? 

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