Tuesday, March 24, 2009

IMINT - Russian Overflights

As was reported on our discussion board,
several Russian aircraft flew over warships involved in the Key Resolve/Foal Eagle 2009 exercise in the Sea of Japan last week.

We have conflicting reports from our Russian and American sources.

Our Russian sources say all the aircraft involved were Ilyushin IL-38 maritime patrol aircraft,
which flew over the aircraft carrier USS Stennis on Monday March 16th, and overflew the lead command and control ship USS Blue Ridge on Tuesday March 17th.

American sources agree on March 16th,
but say the aircraft on March 17th were two lomg-range Russian "Bear" bombers.

Both sources agree that in in both cases,
U.S. Navy F/A-18 fighters met up with the Russian aircraft and flew alongside them until they left the area. On both days, the F/A-18's tried contacting the Russian planes on the
international air frequency radio channels,
but the Russian pilots did not respond.

The Russian Defense Ministry reports that the Russian planes flying over the U.S. warships,
were on training exercises.
The Russian Defense Ministry also called the incidents routine combat training
and say they can not be considered extraordinary cases.

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