Russia Flies Nuclear-Capable Bombers to Region Near Alaska

August 14, 2019 Updated: August 14, 2019

Russia has confirmed it flew nuclear-capable bombers to its far-eastern region opposite of Alaska as part of a training routine.

The country’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement that the Tupolev Tu-160 bombers, capable of carrying 12 short-range nuclear missiles, traveled some 3,800 miles over eight hours from western Russia to Anadyr in the Chukotka region, which is near Alaska, Reuters reported.

“Two strategic missile carriers Tu-160 of the Russian Aerospace Forces made a non-stop flight from a base point to the Anadyr airfield,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement on Twitter. “The flight duration was more than eight hours, during which time the crews covered more than 6 thousand kilometers.”

It also included a video showing the planes taking off at night before showing them arriving in the daytime.

According to Reuters, the flight was part of an exercise that would last until the end of the week.

On Aug. 14, Russian state-run newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta said that Tu-160 flight showed the country’s ability to get nuclear bombers within 20 minutes of U.S. territory.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement that the Tupolev Tu-160 bombers, capable of carrying 12 short-range nuclear missiles, traveled some 3,800 miles over eight hours from western Russia to Anadyr in the Chukotka region (Google Maps)

“The distance from Anadyr to Alaska is less than 600 km (372 miles) – for the TU-160 that takes 20 minutes including take-off and gaining altitude,” the paper said, Reuters reported. “Moreover the capabilities of the missiles which the plane carries would allow it to launch them without leaving Russian airspace. If necessary, the bombers’ first target could be radar stations and the positions of interceptor missiles which are part of the U.S. missile defense system.”

About 10 Tu-160s and TU-95MS and IL-78 planes were involved in the exercise, the news agency noted.

The Chukotka Autonomous Okrug is located in northeastern Russia and is the least densely populated region in the country.

Spy Plane Over Chicago

A Russian spy plane reportedly flew over Chicago on Aug. 13 at a high altitude, according to a local news report.

The plane, a Tupolev jet, departed from Dayton, Ohio, and went to Great Falls, Montana, as part of the Treaty on Open Skies program, WGN-TV reported. The treaty allows nations to carry out pre-arranged surveillance flights over each other’s territory.

The planes are unarmed but carry surveillance and monitoring equipment.

When the plane flew over Chicago, it flew at about 36,000 feet, according to the report.

US fighter jets intercept Russian bombers
U.S. and Canadian fighter jets recently intercepted two Russian long-range bombers off the coast of Alaska on Aug. 8, 2019. (NORAD)

Naval Station Great Lakes is located near the route where the plane flew. It is the largest training installation and is home to the Navy’s only Boot Camp.

A Russian military spokesperson said, “U.S. specialists on board will monitor the use of surveillance equipment and compliance with the provisions of the agreement.”

An aviation expert said that the Russian spy plane’s excursion over Chicago may have been due to weather.

“It may have been avoiding storms,” said Ian Petchenik of FlightRadar24, according to the broadcaster.

Moscow has also used the treaty to visit military sites along the East Coast.

In April, Russia flew a spy plane over Area 51 in Nevada.

area 51 on map
Area 51 on Google Maps. (Google Maps)

The Drive reported at the time that a Tu-154M was captured flying over several military bases in the western United States, including the infamous Area 51. The flight occurred on March 28, starting at Travis Air Force Base in California.

Next, the plane flew over Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California, Fort Irwin National Training Center in San Bernardino County, and Nevada’s Creech Air Force Base, The Drive reported, citing FlightRadar24 data.

The Russian plane then went to Yucca Flat, a nuclear test site.

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