In und über der Arktis, die für verschiedene Staaten offensichtlich auch militärisch zunehmend interessant wird, verstärken Russland wie die USA ihre militärische Präsenz. An diesem Osterwochenende gab’s dazu zwei Meldungen: Die USA schickten B52-Bomber auf die Übung Polar Growl in die Region, und Russland verkündete die Stationierung des SA-22-Flugabwehrsystems nördlich des Polarkreises.
Aus der Mitteilung der U.S. Air Force:
Two B-52 Stratofortresses from the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base, N.D., and a pair from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, La., completed today simultaneous, roundtrip sorties from their U.S. bases to the Arctic and North Sea regions, respectively.
The training mission, coined POLAR GROWL, allowed the aircrews to hone their navigation skills and enhanced their ability to work with Allied partners, while demonstrating U.S. Strategic Command capacity.
„These flights, demonstrating the credible and flexible ability of our strategic bomber force in internationally-recognized flight information regions, are the culmination of months of planning and coordination,“ said Adm. Cecil D. Haney, U.S. Strategic Command commander. „They are one of many ways we demonstrate interoperability, compliance with national and international protocols and due regard for the safety of all aircraft sharing the air space.“
Each of the two legs of POLAR GROWL provided unique training opportunities, all while testing the bomber force’s command and control apparatus‘ ability to support two synchronized flight paths. The bomber crews flying the North Sea route participated in dissimilar air intercept maneuvers with fighter aircraft flown by the Royal Canadian Air Force, the U.K.’s Royal Air Force and the Royal Netherlands Air Force. In addition to conducting dissimilar air intercept maneuvers with Royal Canadian Air Force fighters, bomber crews on the Arctic leg of the mission transited around the North Pole, providing the crews invaluable training in polar navigation.
Und auf russischer Seite:
Russia has already deployed air defense missile and artillery weapon systems Pantsir (SA-22 Greyhound) and plans to place MiG-31 (Foxhound) interceptor aircraft in the Arctic region, deputy head of Russian Aerospace Defence Forces said on Saturday.
“We have already placed there gun systems Pantsir. Deployment of MiG-31 on the Russian Arctic airfield is planned,” Maj. Gen. Kirill Makarov told Russian radio.
New Russian Anti-Aircraft Module Capable of Locating 15 Targets Per Second
Makarov added that MiG-31 jets would protect Russian warships that could sail along the Northern Sea Route in case of any escalation or armed conflict scenario.
Nun ist die US-Übung offensichtlich lange geplant, aber das gleiche gilt für die russische Aktion: Tests des Pantsir-Systems waren im vergangenen Jahr schon angekündigt und in diesem Jahr bestätigt worden.
Die Kollegen von War is Boring haben das auf den Punkt gebracht:
The United States and Russia are currently engaged in a prolonged battle of military theatrics. Both countries are spending time and money to train with their allies and show off fancy equipment … and they’re making damn sure each other can see it.
(Foto: A B-52H Stratofortress from Barksdale Air Force Base, La. receives fuel from a New Hampshire Air National Guard KC-135R April 2, 2015, near the eastern coast of Canada. The B-52H was returning home after supporting a U.S. Strategic Command-directed mission to the Arctic and North Sea regions called „Polar Growl” – New Hampshire Air National Guard photo by Airman Ashlyn J. Correia)