Russian strategic bombers relocated to Chukotka, from where it was a stone’s throw to America.
In fact, the Anadyr airfield in Chukotka will not become the place of the “strategists” of Long-Range Aviation of the Aerospace Forces, it is more likely a “jump” airfield, from which, if necessary, you can fly to the USA as soon as possible. There, the distance to the nearest border point is only 600 kilometers, which is a trifle for the supersonic Tu-160 bomber, and given its armament, you don’t have to fly anywhere, just fly up in the air to strike.
As part of the planned flight tactical exercise, the Ministry of Defense has now deployed ten planes to Chukotka, including the Tu-160 White Swan strategic bombers, Tu-95MS and Il-78 tanker aircraft. It is reported that aircraft without refueling in the air overcame more than six thousand kilometers. As the commander of the Long-Range Aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces, Lieutenant General Sergei Kobylash, said: “During the exercise, the tasks of relocation to operational airfields, as well as flights with refueling in the air, will be worked out.” That is, only the Anadyr airfield will be run in by military aircraft, but it must be assumed that strategic bombers will appear here quite often – a convenient place from where you can control the coast of the Arctic, and along with Alaska.
Americans are very cautious about the Tu-160 and Tu-95 in this region, and any appearance of Russian aircraft makes makes it necessary to take some measures. As, for example, at the beginning of the year, four fighter planes (F-22 and CF-18), as well as an E-3 AWACS long-range radar aircraft, were raised in the Arctic near the Canadian border to intercept two White Swans over the Arctic Ocean. This is a common reaction of the US Air Force, however, as well as Russian fighters who “drive” “enemy” reconnaissance planes here. With the ability to take off flights from Anadyr, the Russian Long-Range Aviation receives a large temporary advantage and a surprise factor. Aircraft can be detected, of course, but managing to react to their appearance in the sky is much more problematic.
If you follow the reports of the Russian military, then in Chukotka it’s just the exercises that are taking place and there was only a transfer of the aviation group. However, a dozen strategic strike bombers capable of carrying, including nuclear weapons, can tear apart, if not all of America, then the west coast for sure. It is clear that in the USA they expressed concern about this, but they cannot make claims – Russian territory. This means that Washington will continue to build up forces, primarily aviation, in the Arctic region. There are enough of them, the combined base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage in Alaska has a powerful aviation wing.
The United States is also beginning to revive its northern bases during the Cold War, as, for example, on the island of Attu, closest to Russia (the Aleutian Islands of the USA), the island of Adak in Alaska. There are airfields capable of receiving fighter and strategic aircraft; until 2010, LORAN radio navigation systems operated. You can recall other “gates” of the Arctic from Norway. So the commander of the Northern Fleet of the Russian Navy, Admiral Evmenov, notes the fact that the Americans are densely filling the space of this country. At the Anneia airbase there is a squadron of aircraft of the base patrol aviation Poseidon. The construction of the Globus-3 missile defense radar station, located 25 kilometers from the Russian border on Vardø Island, is underway. The modernization of the airfields of Bardufoss, Evenes, Banak, Erland and Ryugge is being actively carried out.
Russia also does not like that the American strategic B-52 bombers are in constant readiness for combat use. For example, at Andersen Air Base on the island of Guam, where not so long ago, the Americans transferred six B-52s. This is one of the four positions of strategic bombers of the US Air Force. The location of these bases provides direct support for bomber crews to deploy forces in Europe, South-West Asia and the Pacific. Andersen is considered one of the most important US military bases in the Asia-Pacific region.
So there is nothing surprising in the fact that Russia is striving to bring its strategic bombers closer not only to the US borders, but precisely for the most active control of the Arctic space.
On Kotelny Island, active work is underway to restore the runway of the Temp airfield, which will be able to receive heavy aircraft (so far only An-72 transport aircraft land there). Russian pilots chose Chukotka last year, when a pair of Tu-160 flew to Anadyr, now this task has been repeated, but already as part of the group.
The main base of the Russian strategic bombers Tu-160 and Tu-95 MS is the air force base in Engels, Saratov Region. It is from here that they “go” to combat patrols in almost any region of the world. The range of their practical flight is about 12 thousand kilometers, when refueling in the air they are able to stay in the air for more than a day. In 2018, a record was set – the flight range was 18 thousand kilometers. That is, you can easily reach the United States, but you also need to consider the human factor – you cannot sleep on a bomber, a flight attendant will not bring coffee with a bun, and, sorry, you need to go to the washing room. Therefore, the “jump” airfield seems to be a rather important thing in the long-distance routes of the “strategists”.
One of these airfields operates in Olenegorsk in the Murmansk region, through which, by the way, “White Swans” flew to Venezuela. Tested for landing strategic bombers and several other airfields – near Vorkuta, Vladivostok, Belarusian Baranovichi, at the Kant air base in Kyrgyzstan. However, it is precisely the “jump” airfields that can not only accept heavy aircraft, they are equipped with fuel supplies, missile and bomb weapons, material and technical means, and crew rest areas. At such a “point” you can spend days waiting for the command to take off. It seems that in Anadyr, Russian pilots will spend considerable time in order to make an emergency flight if necessary.