U.S. fighters intercept Russian planes off Alaska

U.S. and Canadian jet fighters on Monday intercepted a pair of Russian military aircraft that came as close as 50 nautical miles to the Alaskan coast. The U.S. and Canadian air crews were assigned to the North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known as NORAD. They flew F-22s and CF-18s as they escorted the Russian Tu-142 maritime reconnaissance aircraft for about four hours through a region known as the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone. The Russians did not stray into U.S. or Canadian airspace during their journey, NORAD officials said. “NORAD continues to operate in the Arctic across multiple domains,” said Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, NORAD commander. “As we continue to conduct exercises and operations in the north, we are driven by a single unyielding priority: defend the homelands.”

This sorta thing is fairly common..  But, we need to be returning the favor and doing the same thing in their neck of the woods.

NORAD responds after Russian bombers zoom around Japan

A pair of Russian Tu-95 Bear nuclear-capable bombers flew around Japan on Tuesday, prompting the Japanese military to scramble fighter jets as the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) increased its threat posture, two U.S. defense officials revealed to Fox News. The Russian bombers stayed in international airspace, the officials said. News of this latest Russian provocation came shortly after the Pentagon announced that new Defense Secretary James Mattis would make his first visit overseas to Japan and South Korea early next month. A third Russian Tu-95 bomber took off from a base in eastern Russia near the Pacific Ocean but it did not fly around Japan. Instead, it acted as a “communications relay” to pass radio traffic between the bombers flying around Japan, the officials said. In a statement, NORAD said threat posture changes were “not unusual” in response to “exercises or real world events,” but declined to disclose any more information. All three Russian strategic bombers took off outside the Pacific coastal city of Anadyr in eastern Russia. They returned to the eastern Russian airbase Ukrainka, roughly 1,000 miles from Japan. Three Russian refueling tankers (IL-78) were also part of the flight. Two airborne radar and communications planes known as Beriev A-50 AWACs were also part of the Russian flying armada. Only two Russian bombers made the flight around Japan’s major islands, according to officials. The increase in threat posture from 5 to 4 meant the U.S. Air Force would place an extra tanker crew on standby ready to refuel the Japanese jets if necessary, according to officials. It was the first time Russian bombers had circumnavigated Japan’s major islands in a year, the officials said.

Definitely something to keep an eye on..  For more on this story, click on the text above.

Raytheon to move NORAD and NORTHCOM back into Cheyenne Mountain

The US military command that scans North America’s skies for enemy missiles and aircraft plans to move its communications gear to a Cold War-era mountain bunker, officers said. The shift to the Cheyenne Mountain base in Colorado is designed to safeguard the command’s sensitive sensors and servers from a potential electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack, military officers said. The Pentagon last week announced a $700 million contract with Raytheon Corporation to oversee the work for North American Aerospace Command (NORAD) and US Northern Command. Admiral William Gortney, head of NORAD and Northern Command, said that “because of the very nature of the way that Cheyenne Mountain’s built, it’s EMP-hardened.” “And so, there’s a lot of movement to put capability into Cheyenne Mountain and to be able to communicate in there,” Gortney told reporters. “My primary concern was… are we going to have the space inside the mountain for everybody who wants to move in there, and I’m not at liberty to discuss who’s moving in there,” he said. The Cheyenne mountain bunker is a half-acre cavern carved into a mountain in the 1960s that was designed to withstand a Soviet nuclear attack. From inside the massive complex, airmen were poised to send warnings that could trigger the launch of nuclear missiles. But in 2006, officials decided to move the headquarters of NORAD and US Northern Command from Cheyenne to Petersen Air Force base in Colorado Springs. The Cheyenne bunker was designated as an alternative command center if needed. That move was touted a more efficient use of resources but had followed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of modernization work at Cheyenne carried out after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Now the Pentagon is looking at shifting communications gear to the Cheyenne bunker, officials said. “A lot of the back office communications is being moved there,” said one defense official.

Indeed.. Well, given the increasing threats from Russia and China, this is probably a smart move.

NORAD alarmed over Russia’s ‘military assertiveness,’ heavy bomber patrols

The admiral in charge of defending North American airspace warned Thursday that increased Russian military activity is making it harder to defend the U.S. and Canada. Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Adm. William Gortney — commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command — warned that Russia is working to deploy conventionally-armed long-range cruise missiles that could be launched from submarines or bombers. “Should these trends continue over time, NORAD will face increased risk in our ability to defend North America against Russian air, maritime and cruise missile threats,” he said in written testimony, CNN reported Friday. Mr. Gortney said there was a noticeable increase in Russian “military assertiveness” in 2014, and that Russian heavy bombers flew more missions outside of their own airspace than at any point since the Cold War. The admiral added that the flights are in part likely political statements for Russia to “communicate its displeasure with Western policies, particularly with regard to Ukraine,” an area that has strained relations between Russia and western NATO countries, CNN reported.

NORAD Head Says Russia Increasing Arctic Long Range Air Patrols

While Russian military aircraft have stepped up their activity everywhere from the North Sea to the Baltic to the Black Sea in the last year they have also been spotted more frequently closer to the U.S. territory in the Arctic, the head of U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) told USNI News on Tuesday. In particular – flights of Tupolev Tu-95 Bear ‘H’ Bombers have increased recently NORTHCOM’s Adm. Bill Gortney said. “They’ve been very aggressive – under my NORAD hat – for us in the Arctic,” he said to USNI News following a keynote address at the WEST 2015 conference.

Vlad continues to push the envelope with his aggression not only toward Ukraine and eastern Europe…but against us!! Its WAY past time that we returned the sentiment, and let him know that we will NOT be intimidated by his bullying tactics. Hillary and Obama’s “reset” with Moscow has proven to be a total failure. No more pandering and appeasing.. Its time for the gloves to come off. As we’ve been saying for over 8 months here at The Daily Buzz.. There are SEVERAL options (including economic, political, AND military) available to Obama…and he should avail himself of ALL of those options…before Vlad decides to annex another territory or eastern European nation..