Are Russian Bombers Flying Nuclear Drills Near Europe—Or Just Testing NATO’s Defenses?

The capability of the weapons systems plus the ability to get so close within range shows they could launch nuclear missiles and wipe out cities within only a few minutes.

 

Nuclear-capable Russian bombers are flying over the North Sea and the Atlantic. And U.S. Air Force officers are very concerned at what could be a rehearsal of a deadly mission.
Russian bombers may be flying nuclear strike drills over the Atlantic Ocean and North Sea, current and former U.S. Air Force officers believe. At the very least, these officers tell The Daily Beast, the Russian Air Force is aggressively probing what NATO calls European airspace in an effort to gauge the reaction times of the western alliance’s defenses.

Since Oct. 28, NATO air defenses have detected and monitored four groups of Russian combat aircraft over the Baltic Sea, North Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and Black Sea. Norwegian F-16 fighters intercepted one particular group of Russian aircraft on Oct. 29 that included four, nuclear-capable Tupolev Tu-95 Bear H strategic bombers and four Ilyushin Il-78 aerial refueling tankers. Once intercepted, six of the Russian aircraft headed for home while the two remaining Tu-95 bombers continued southwest, parallel to the Norwegian coast, before eventually turning back towards Russia.

The giant, propeller-driven Tu-95 is a launch platform for the 1,600 nautical mile range Raduga Kh-55 nuclear-tipped cruise missile. The weapon carries a 200-kiloton nuclear warhead; by comparison, the bomb that destroyed Nagasaki was a mere 21 kilotons. Some active-duty and retired U.S. Air Force officials told The Daily Beast that the Tu-95s might have been flying to certain predetermined launch points for their nuclear missiles. Continue reading

World on brink of an oil price war

Next month’s Opec meeting will take place against a background of dissension between two power blocs in an organisation that controls the lifeblood of the global economy, reports Andrew Critchelow.

A secretive group of the world’s most powerful oil ministers will soon gather in Vienna to take arguably one of the most important decisions that could affect the still fragile world economy: whether to cut production of crude to defend prices at US$100 per barrel, or keep open the spigots as winter looms among the biggest energy-consuming nations.

A sudden slump in the price of crude has exposed deep divisions within the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) ahead of its final scheduled meeting of the year next month to decide on how much oil to pump.

Some members, led by Iran, have called for immediate action to stem the drop in oil prices, while the Arab sheikhdoms of the Gulf have so far argued that it could be another three months before it becomes clear whether the group should cut production for the first time since December 2008. Whatever they decide, oil remains the lifeblood of the global economic system due to its direct impact on inflation and input prices. Continue reading

Russian Nuclear Submarine to Test Launch Bulava ICBM Within Two Days: Source

MOSCOW, September 9 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s nuclear submarine Vladimir Monomakh has departed its port to hold a test launch of the intercontinental ballistic Bulava (SS-NX-32) missile in the North Sea, a source in the Sevmash Shipyard told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.

“The nuclear-powered submarine, the Vladimir Monomakh, has left Sevmash, the ship has been preliminarily prepared, and it should return before September 11,” the source said. Continue reading

Dutch scramble jets after Russian bombers approach

AMSTERDAM (AP) — The Dutch defense department says several NATO member countries scrambled jets Wednesday afternoon after a pair of Russian bomber planes approached their airspace over the North Sea. Continue reading