Home » Aviation » Russian Air Force Chief: U.S. Surveillance Flights Monitor Russia Daily


Russian Air Force Chief: U.S. Surveillance Flights Monitor Russia Daily

RC-135. US Air Force Photo

RC-135. US Air Force Photo

U.S. surveillance planes have flown almost daily missions right on the edge of Russian controlled airspace, the head of the Russian Air Force told reporters on Tuesday.

Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev (colonel general is equivalent to a three-star U.S. lieutenant general rank), commander-in-chief- of the Russian Air Force, said there has been a dramatic uptick in the flights by U.S. Air Force aircraft.

“US RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft carry out flights almost daily,” he said.
“In 2014, more than 140 RC-135 flights have taken place compared to 22 flights in 2013.”

Bondarev said NATO surveillance flights over the Baltic Sea and the Barents Sea have grown to eight to 12 a week and NATO tactical air flights (fighters) have doubled from 2013 to about 3,000 flights.

He also said NATO flights of maritime surveillance aircraft have increased over the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

Russian air activity is also at a recent high.

Undated photo of a Tupolev Tu-95 Bear Bomber. Finnish Defense Forces Photo

Undated photo of a Tupolev Tu-95 Bear Bomber. Finnish Defense Forces Photo

Last week Finnish Defense Forces reported, “unusually intense air activity over the Baltic,” consisting of flights of Tupolev Tu-95 Bear and Tupolev Tu-22M Backfire bombers and Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback, Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker and Mikoyan MiG-31 Foxhound fighters seemingly bound for the Kaliningrad exclave.

As of October, NATO has had more than 100 intercepts of Russian aircraft in 2014 — three times higher than 2013, U.S. defense official told USNI News at the time.

The Boeing RC-135 — based on the C-135 Stratolifter — specializes in signals intelligence (SIGINT) and is used by the U.S. military to capture and store electromagnetic information like radio signals and radar emissions and passed to U.S. intelligence analysts for further study.

Two of the aircraft have had dangerously close encounters with Russian aircraft this year.

In July over the Baltic Sea, Russian fighters approached a RC-135V/W Rivet Joint in what the Pentagon claimed was international airspace. The “attempted encounter,” led U.S. European Command (EUCOM) examined its procedures after the Rivet Joint diverted into Swedish airspace to avoid the fighters.

In June over the Sea of Okhotsk in the Pacific, a RC-135 almost collided with a Su-27 fighter in an action the Pentagon called, “unprofessional.”

  • gunnerv1

    Russian Math must be the origin of US “Common Core” math. 140 RC135 Sorties somehow does not add up to “8 to 12 a week” (8 x 52= 416 or 12 x 52= 624 Sorties a year). And we’er not sending Bombers, I see our relations with the “Evil Empire” deteriorating further as Mr Putin’s stature as a Leader falls due to his Economy/Ventures into other Countries. The United States Sea Forces will eventually start seeing Russian Sea Forces becoming more aggressive on the High Seas soon (a repeat of the ’60’s-’80’s) Looking forward to hearing the “Collision-at-Sea Alarm” anytime soon?

    • vity

      It said NATO surveillance flights, did not specify platform. Your math is wrong. 9th grade math in Russia equivalent of Algebra II here. Common core is a joke.

      • gunnerv1

        I stand by my Answer. I was career US Navy (’64-’86) and witnessed first hand “Aggressive” Ship Handling by Soviet Naval Forces. (and the always ubiquitous “Trawler” on our Beam or Astern of my ship)

    • JEM

      Are you sure “they” are the evil empire?

      • gunnerv1

        The “Evil Empire” is not my ‘opinion’ as you should note it’s contained in quotation marks (R. Reagan).

    • Mikronos

      Well nobody is going to tell us how many flights we have testing Russian reactions, are they? Suffice it to say there are such flights. Hopefully none slinging a ‘big boomer’ on ‘Fail Safe’ missions

      • gunnerv1

        I can Guarantee you, that if a B-52 is in the air, it will be carrying a “Special” Weapon, especially on Patrol

  • publius_maximus_III

    The ruble is tumbling, setting up Putin for a fall.

    • vincentlawrence

      The Russian value is in a barrel of oil and natural gas, oil has taken a 40 %
      hit, and Natural gas was cut to the Ukraine Russia’s largest customer.
      Now Putin can find his ruble in the rubble.

      • Rodney

        Yes Russia has some economic problems. They still have the Oil and Gas though. Gas Europe can’t live without in the long term. They will have a few rough years but in the long term will come out of it stronger as they speed up there diversification of there industry. You can see it happening already. They quickly moved to ban subsidized EU produce. A very smart counter sanction. Something they have wanted to do for a long time. Now there own producers have quickly moved to fill the gap that they don’t have to compete against EU subsidized produce. The EU does not know what to do with it. Most countries will not accept subsidized EU produce. That will make Russia richer and stronger in the long term. Sure prices have gone up a bit in Russia but nothing like vicious like most in the US hoped. The Russian economy now in many ways is more free enterprise than the USA. It can respond very quickly to change. As the single biggest importer of European Industrial equipment that now will be hurting European industry badly also. Russia has not banned it but there orders now are only a fraction of what they were. No doubt there own producers are getting the benefit and other BRICK [balanced] nations are picking up much of that market. There motor vehicle industry now is well established producing state of the art vehicles. The revival of there Aircraft industry is now well on the way. In another decade now they have with China there own efficient wide body aircraft. They will have the middle range covered by 2017. With joint production of wide body aircraft with China they will have access to the biggest market in the world. Modern efficient commercial engines of there own by 2017. Same with there Gas. Big contracts now in place to supply China and other BRICK nations. Long term contracts that are secure. Yes they will have a few tough years but in the long term they will come out stronger. Did you notice the other day last month Russia’s reserves fell only about $9 billion out of almost $400 billion in reserve. So much for the effects of the Oil glut and sanctions and the return of Crimea to the Russian Federation. All those expenses and loss of income and they have only used $9 billion of there $400 billion reserves in the last month. It will be US Oil production that suffer in the long term far more than Russia. How long can US marginal oil be produced at the current prices? If you think Europe will pay more for your oil and gas than Russian Gas and Oil you live in a fools world. They will not. There own economic well being will always come before the imperialist ambitions of a US that can never have the economic impact it used to have as its share of the world economy decreases. It was easy after WW2 to dominate with Europe destroyed and Japan and China etc. on there knees. Spending more on so called defense that the rest of the world does not create a strong economy. You might as well go and piss it up against a wall. How long before the US accepts this and faces reality and learns to become one of the boys in the block and stops instead of trying to be the bully of the block?

  • Yodaweed

    Bondarev, commander-in-chief- of the Russian Air Force, said there has been a dramatic uptick in the flights by U.S. Air Force aircraft….And with Russian behaviour over the last couple years he’s surprised?

    • Rodney

      The double standards of US types really is starting to annoy me more and more just as it annoys most in the world. A declining nation in terms of world significance using bully boy tactics to try to maintain its position. Why is it OK for the US to undertake enormous amounts of spying of all types. Electronic, cyber, agents on the ground, interference in other nations by NGO’s acting as cover for espionage activities etc. Starting proxy wars etc. The US even does it against allies but any time another nation does the same the US adopts a typical two faced sanctimonious, self-righteous attitude. Your statement above is exactly that. Do you really believe God is on your side? Maybe many of you do when you look at the number of religious nuts in the USA. As bad as fundamentalist Muslim terrorists in many ways. Please name the Russian behaviour over the last couple of years that you object to. It was not Russia that supported Georgia who in turn then attacked South Ossetia. It was US backed Georgia that did that. Even the European Parliament agreed with that after there Commission of inquiry. Or do you prefer the lies of the Bush Admin and subsequent US Admins. Russia had all of Georgia within 2 weeks but after blowing up all the military gear paid for and upgraded by the US they pulled out. Hardly the actions of an Empire building nation. Capture a country and then withdraw. Russia does not want Georgia. Just go to Russia and talk to Russians. The last thing they want. They are happy to be free of old parts of the USSR like that. Just another burden. If Putin had stayed in Georgia his popularity would have dropped well below his normal 60+%. It was not East Ukraine that rioted and supported the over throw of the elected President. In the reverse situation when there was a pro West Government in Ukraine. Just as corrupt as the recent one [and probably the current US supported Junta] they waited for the elections to get rid of it. I would point out new elections were due in Ukraine last October anyhow. Even when that US backed violent rabble [many of them] got a promise of a new election in May last year they continued with there violence and occupation of buildings etc. You also like to forget that many Police were killed and injured by that rabble long before the final blow up. Not that any of this would be reported in your US mainstream media. Despite all this the US continued to support them in there violent takeover of the Government of Ukraine. Russia has never done anything like that in the last 24 years. Name the time they have. Also tell me why it was OK for West Ukraine to demonstrate violently and take over Government Buildings etc. for months but it was not OK for the people of the East do they same a few months later. Australian 5th Generation.

      • Yodaweed

        Two wrongs = right ?…Oh in response to your totally over the top rant; I am not an American and I’m an atheist (God on my side comment). Actually I am a hard core lefty Canadian. I don’t disagree with the problems you point out regarding the Americans. However, looking at Russia, is adopting the same measures really a bright idea? I think not. Also as a defence analyst, your assessments of Ukraine, but more importantly the North Caucasus (My area of specialization) are WAYYYYYY off the mark. Your understanding of the situation in Georgia is deeply flawed and views Russian action with very naive and deeply tinted rose coloured glasses. It also represents the same kind of thoughtless partisanship you are in fact accusing others of. If my view is blindly pro American than yours is without a doubt anti-American rhetoric.
        What I am tired of are westerners pissed off with their own government glazing over Putin, who is nothing less than a total tyrant and assuming if their government is the bad guy than the other guy must be the good guy…every stop to think that they are both totally nuts ? Assuming the supposition that American = Bad does not immediately mean Russia = good.

        • JEM

          That may be so but we are crumbling from within. We as a people don’t have a united fighting spirit and the moral fiber to succeed.

      • JEM

        Obama and Bush both lie. They are of one mind.

  • Secundius

    What’s the matter Vladimir, don’t you like the competition…

  • RCNav

    Just a return to Cold War numbers after the diversion of the RC-135s to support the various mid-east operations and following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Given the uptick in Russian weapons development and deployment the increased surveillance is most welcome. This is why the Russian area flight numbers are returning to “normal”. Wish I was back in the cockpit, flying the Barents and collecting the signal environment. Interestingly, the Soviet AF chiefs did not ‘whine’ about the flights back in the ’80s.

    • Rodney

      He was not whining. Just pointing out how the USA as usual started it all. He is just countering all the sanctimonious whining that has been going on in the West as Russia finally responds in kind. It is the US and certain Western nations that are whining.

      • RCNav

        I can see by your posts that you are entirely anti-US on just about every subject. You also do not have any clue about reconnaissance operations, and see every US move anywhere as an example of “imperialism”.
        And, yes, it is whining by the Russians. Pure propaganda, which you have bought into.
        Not worth wasting any more time. Time you moved to one of the countries you support. Hope you speak Chinese or Russian, if you don’t already.

        • JEM

          Our own government is anti-US. Wake up!

  • Milky

    As long as Russia has China nothing else matters

    • TeaBagObamaChin

      F uck em both yellow chicom bastards will get theirs soon. Putin will just hurt himself

      • JEM

        You are wrong. We will never survive an attack from Russia and China. We are not united And that is a significant weakness.

      • Milky

        Yeah the “chicom bastards” have nothing to worry about. As long as the US keeps importing 80% of their goods from China and borrowing money from China.

  • Sum1Lszfalt

    That 135 (Boeing 707 commercial) will never go away I reckon. If it ain’t Boeing, I ain’t goeing!

  • johnjohn1

    Well the sooner an x37 can operate with payloads over the arctic the sooner we can stop our flights around russia all together.

    • Milky

      The S500 will just blow it out the sky if Russia wanted.

  • Mark Marquis

    The Russians and Chinese monitor ” everything”, as it is highly unlikely that Obama has any conversation that is not monitored, as you must remember that both Russia and China, as well as North Korea ( and others) have their own NSA’s and sigint assets.

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  • Steve Barrucci

    Don`t like it when its done to you do you “Ivan”

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