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US and Russian Forces Engage in Mutual Provocations in the Arctic and the Baltic Sea


May 2, 2016
The London Mirror

Was this a warning shot? This chilling footage shows a Russian nuclear submarine launching a cruise missile from underwater to destroy a coastal training target. It is the latest show of strength from Russia's military after a number of close passes by fighter jets near US planes and ships. A Russian pilot provoked fury at the Pentagon by performing a barrel roll just 25 feet from a US ship in the Baltic and a Russian jet flew just 50 feet from a US spy plane last week.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/russian-nuclear-sub-fires-cruise-7866647



The 120-metre Severodvinsk submarine can be seen sinking slowly below the surface before its Kalibr missile erupts from the waves.

Russian Nuclear Sub Fires Cruise Missile
In Chilling Footage of Arctic Military Drill

Jonathan Sharman / The Mirror

LONDON (April 30, 2016) -- Is this a warning shot? This chilling footage shows a Russian nuclear submarine launching a cruise missile from underwater to destroy a coastal training target. The 120-metre Severodvinsk submarine can be seen sinking slowly below the surface of the Barents Sea as part of Russian navy Arctic combat drills.

Then the Kalibr missile erupts from the waves in a plume of smoke and streaks away into the distance. A loud rumbling can be heard before the camera zooms in to show the launch site. It is the latest show of strength from the country's military after a number of close passes by fighter jets near US planes and ships.

This year Russia has increased its military presence in the Arctic region where it and other world powers are locked in a battle to claim valuable territory and underwater mining rights.

The Russian military said the cruise missile struck its target, in the Arkhangelsk region, "with high accuracy". A statement added: "A strike group of the flotilla has conducted firing drills using naval practice targets and hit them successfully."

The Kalibr missile, which can carry nuclear or conventional payloads, travels at speeds up to Mach 2.9 -- the same as a space shuttle during launch. The land-attack, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapon has a range of up to 1,500 miles.

Kalibrs have been used to strike ISIS infrastructure targets in Raqqa, Syria. Video footage showed a salvo of the missiles being launched from ships in the Mediterranean. More than 20 warships and support vessels of the Caspian flotilla took part in the drills, Russia said.

The Severodvinsk nuclear-powered attack submarine launched in 2010. It can carry up to 40 of the Kalibr missiles, and Russia plans to build 12 of them.

The craft is fast, too -- it can push its 13,900-ton bulk through the water at up to 35 knots at full pelt, quicker than its American counterparts and nearly as fast as Russia's legendary, though tiny, Alfa-class hunter killers that could intercept a foe at speeds of 41 knots, equivalent to about 46mph.

The Yasen-class Severodvinsk has impressed American officials who called it a "tough potential opponent", the US Naval Institute reported. Earlier this month Admiral Mark Ferguson, the US naval commander in Europe, told CNN that Russian submarine activity was at levels not seen since the Cold War. The country's new boats are "much more stealthy", he said.

He added that the Russians "have more advanced weapons systems, missile systems that can attack land at long ranges, and we also see their operating proficiency is getting better as they range farther from home waters."

There have also been several high-profile aerial encounters with Russian jets in recent weeks in which pilots have flown extremely close to US planes and ships. The most recent, yesterday, allegedly saw a Russian SU-27 Flanker pilot barrel roll over an American reconnaissance plane, coming within 25 feet of the larger aircraft.





Pentagon Outraged as Show-off Russian Fighter Pilot 'Performs Barrel Roll' Over US Air Force Plane Just 25ft Away
Sam Webb and Jonathan Sharman / The Mirror

LONDON (April 30, 2016) -- A Russian fighter pilot has provoked fury at the Pentagon after allegedly performing a barrel roll just 25 feet from an American reconnaissance plane over the Baltic Sea.

Outraged defence officials called the interception manoeuvre "unsafe and unprofessional", but Russia said it was forced to intercept the American RC-135 plane because it had switched off its identifying transponder.

The Pentagon admitted the barrel roll incident could "escalate tensions" between the countries after a number of close-flying encounters.

In a taunting statement the Russian defence ministry said: "We are already starting to get used to the insults of the Pentagon regarding alleged 'unprofessional' manoeuvres when our fighters intercept US spy planes at the Russian border. The US Air Force has two solutions -- either not to fly near our borders, or to turn the transponder on for identification."

Reports differed on just how close the Russian SU-27 Flanker fighter jet came to its lumbering quarry. US Army spokeswoman Lt Col Michelle Baldanza said it came within 25 feet, or 7.6m, while others claimed a figure of 100 feet, or 30 metres.

Lt. Col. Baldanza told CNN: "The SU-27 intercepted the US aircraft flying a routine route at high rate of speed from the side then proceeded to perform an aggressive maneuver that posed a threat to the safety of the US aircrew in the RC-135."

The Sukhoi SU-27 -- known to NATO as the Flanker -- is an air superiority fighter designed to rival the US' famous F-14 Tomcat and F-15 Eagle jets. It can fly at Mach 2.5 at a maximum altitude of more than 62,000 feet, twice as high as a commercial airliner.

Pentagon official Daniel Hernandez said: "The US aircraft was operating in international airspace and at no time crossed into Russian territory. More importantly, the unsafe and unprofessional actions of a single pilot have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries."

A Russian MiG-31 jet flew just 15 metres from a US spy plane in Russia last week. [See story below. -- EAW] The jet, which travels at nearly three times the speed of sound, flew within 50 feet of the P-8, a maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, claim defence officials. The incident took place near the Russian city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the far east of the country.

Dave Benham, a spokesman for the Pacific Command, told the Washington Free Beacon: "Intercepts between the United States and other militaries occur often and the vast majority are professional. For intercepts that are deemed unprofessional, the US takes appropriate measures through military and diplomatic channels."

Russia has been accused of a number of incidents where military aircraft have flown aggressively close to NATO members' warplanes. This month, two Russian warplanes flew simulated close-quarters attack passes near a US guided missile destroyer in the Baltic Sea.

"I guess you can watch the video and see for yourself how those intercepts are," said Dan Naim, a US F-22 pilot based in Romania. "If you want to intercept people over international waters, we just want to encourage them to do that in a safe way."


Supersonic Russian MiG-31 Fighter Jet Intercepts
US Spy Plane and Flies Just 15 Metres from Aircraft

Sam Webb / The Mirror

LONDON (April 29, 2016) -- A Russian MiG-31 jet flew just 15 metres from a US spy plane in Russia last week. The jet, which travel at nearly three times the speed of sound, flew within 50 feet of the P-8, a maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, claim defence officials.

The incident took place near the Russian city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the far east of the country.

Dave Benham, a spokesman for the Pacific Command, told the Washington Free Beacon: "On April 21, a US Navy P-8 Maritime Patrol reconnaissance aircraft flying a routine mission in international airspace was intercepted by a MiG-31 Russian jet in the vicinity of the Kamchatka Peninsula." He added that the intercept was "safe and professional".

"Intercepts between the United States and other militaries occur often and the vast majority are professional. For intercepts that are deemed unprofessional, the US takes appropriate measures through military and diplomatic channels."

Russia has been accused of a number of incidents where military aircraft have flown aggressively close to NATO members' warplanes. This month, two Russian warplanes flew simulated close-quarters attack passes near a US guided missile destroyer in the Baltic Sea.

"I guess you can watch the video and see for yourself how those intercepts are," said Dan Naim, a US F-22 pilot based in Romania. "If you want to intercept people over international waters, we just want to encourage them to do that in a safe way."

Knowing that their opponents may want to engage in a high-stakes mid-air staring contest with the West, how would the pilots handle an airborne encounter with a Russian jet?

"The type of missions we run generally are offensive-defensive types of mission. You're looking to be cool, calm and collected," said Rob Morgan, a short time after stepping out of the cockpit of his F-22 at the Romanian base.




Russian Military Buys Five 'Combat' Dolphins from Moscow Zoo
Jon Dean / The Mirror

LONDON (April 25, 2016) -- Russia is set to fork out £18,000 for five military dolphins. During the Cold War, both America and Russia trained dolphins for military purposes.

At the Ukrainian facility, bottlenose dolphins were taught to hunt for mines, plant bombs on hostile ships and even attack enemy divers with special knives or pistols fixed to their heads. But the country's Ministry of Defence is unwilling to explain why it wants the battle porpoises.

The dolphins, three males and two females, are thought to cost £3,500 each.

The Russian military put the contract to supply the sea mammals out to tender.

Moscow's Utrish Dolphinarium was the only bidder before the process closed Tuesday.

The company agree to supply the creatures, aged between three and five, by August 1 "with all teeth intact . . . [and] no mucus from the blowhole," according to the Russian website detailing state tenders.

The website does not explain why one of the most powerful armies in the world needs the bottlenosed porpoises. The Ministry of Defense did not respond to a request for comment, reports NBC News .

Once the transaction is completed, the five dolphins will be delivered to Sebastapol, a port in the annexed state of Crimea. When Russia took control of the former Ukrainian peninsula, they also claimed a military dolphin training facility. But Russia said it had no military plans for the sea creatures.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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