A Russian military exercise involving nuclear bombers caused neighbours Japan and South Korea to scramble as they were found near Hokkaido and the Korean Peninsula on Monday. Japan and Russia reported that both aircrafts were intercepted by three Japanese fighters. The Russian Defense Ministry also said that both bombers were on practice strikes and had been airborne for 7 hours since taking off from Ukrainka Air Base in Amur Oblast.
The aircraft were identified as Tu-95 H bombers which were commissioned as strategic bombers. According to the Russian Defense Ministry the Tu-95 were loaded with “strategic missiles” as part of the Russian military exercise. The ministry also said that the Tu-95s took off from Ukrainka “in order to provide strategic deterrence measures over the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk.” Besides being a strategic bomber, a Tu-95 is also used for missile carrying missions and airborne surveillance.
According to Russian Major Gen. Igor Dylevskiy, “The total number of troops involved in the inspection of the combat readiness is about 160,000 military personnel, more than 5,000 tanks and armored fighting vehicles, 130 long-range, military transport, fighter, bomber and army aviation aircraft, as well as up to 70 Navy ships.” Besides the Tu-95, another aircraft identified as Il-20, a heavily armoured ground attack aircraft, was also spotted over the Russian-controlled Kuril Islands, which are located near Hokkaido and also claimed by Japan.
Russian military exercises involving Raptors and Bears, another name for Tu-95, is not unheard of in the Pacific. Back in February, two Bears were found near Guam while in April the U.S. Air Force intercepted two Raptors near Alaska. Also in April, two Blinders or Tu-22 were deployed for a simulated missile attack, which defense officials claimed was to target U.S. missile defenses and Japanese military bases.
[via The Washington Free Beacon]