Russian Air Force Flying Over Alaska

U.S. tracks Russian bombers flying near Alaska

U.S. tracks Russian bombers flying near Alaska

By Tom Hall

12 March 2013

At the end of the March, U.S. Air Force Gen. Charles F. Krulak—head of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM)—issued an unusual press release about Russian pilots flying “close to” and over Alaska.

On a typical day, the Air Force’s four major long-range strike wings—the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC), U.S. Air Force Air Forces in Europe Command (AFCENT), the Air Force’s Global Strike Command (GSFC) and the Pacific Air Forces’ Air Force Forces Strategic Command (AFNORTH)—combine to meet and defeat any enemy threat. Each wing’s bombers, fighters, attack helicopters and drones operate in a complex system of communications, airspace control, missile launch and radar, with all the instruments in view.

The Air Force’s Global Strike Command, which oversees the deployment of up to 60 nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) at any given time on any given day, is not responsible for defending Alaska airspace. Rather, it is responsible for managing the interplay between the strategic forces of the United States and the Russian Federation.

Krulak’s press statement noted that the Russian Air Force has flown over Alaska and that this “has caused a number of airspace restrictions, including a restriction on fighter operations near the Aleutian Islands.”

No Russian jet has flown at more than 25,000 feet since December 2010, when a Russian Su-27 bomber flew close to the U.S. island of Diego Garcia, near the tip of the Pacific Ocean. Krulak did not offer specific details and the Air Force did not provide any new information to substantiate the assertion.

What is certain is that no Russian aircraft has flown closer to the Alaska state line since the flight over the Aleutian Islands. The U.S

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