So The Cold War Really Isn’t Over Yet?

| May 23, 2019

A Russian bomber is escorted by an F-22 off the west coast of Alaska on May 21. (NORAD photo)

Are the Russians getting jiggy again? The Chairforce has been escorting Russia’s Bears and their fighter jet escorts back to their own space for about five months now.

From the article:   For the second day in a row, U.S. aircraft intercepted Russian bombers and fighters off the western coast of Alaska, North American Aerospace Defense Command announced Wednesday.

Two pairs of F-22 Raptors intercepted Russian Tu-95 bombers and Su-35 fighter jets entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone, or ADIZ, on Tuesday, but remained in international airspace.

The F-22s were aided by E-3 Sentry airborne early warning and control aircraft, which provided surveillance. – Article

So the Cold War stuff really never ended. Vlad is poking Uncle Sam because he can, not because there’s anything targeted to bomb just yet.  Must have something to do with cancelling our deal with Russia to use the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to get our astronauts up to the ISS.  But that’s just speculation, of course…. but it could explain his sending people to Venezuela to visit Maduro….

Do you realize that there hasn’t been a really good spy novel since the end of the Cold War?

Category: Cold War, Russia

Comments (51)

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  1. 5th/77th FA says:

    Y’all correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the Bear just basically used as long range search or eavesdropping platform these days? Have they reconfigured it to carry long range missiles or jammers? Just doesn’t seem plausible in this day and age to have a prop driven bomber.

    You are correct IMO, Ex…Vlad is poking at us cause he can. Soviets errr…Russians been doing it for 100 years now; why should they stop? You’d of thought with all the supposed Russian Collusion that dTrumpster has been accused of, the boys would be playing nice.

    Eternal Vigilance!

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      I think those are classed as bombers, but they look like upgraded versions of the old Bears, the TU-160s, also classed as long-range bombers, which were also prop driven.

      • MustangCryppie says:

        PH2, I was a Soviet Naval Air Analyst and I know a little about their Long Range Aviation assets (which these are).

        The Bears have been around for a lot longer than the TU-160 Blackjack. Bears since the 50s, Blackjacks since the 80s.

        The Bear is the TU-95 and they come in many variants (at least they did).

        (All these variant letters that I use are what we used in the biz. I’ve seen other ways to reference the variants. and remember, this is just off the top of my head.)

        The strike variants that I remember are the Bear H and Bear C, while the recce variant (in the Soviet Navy, not the LRA) is the Bear D, which was used for over the horizon targeting.

        The Navy also had an ASW variant, the TU-142 Bear F which also did duty as a communications relay for Soviet subs as the Bear J.

        The Bear family of aircraft have been around as long as the B-52, though I’m pretty sure none of the original platforms are still around. All the ones still flying have been around since the 80s.

        The TU-160 is not a prop driven aircraft. Fun fact: you can always tell whether a plane is jet or prop by how many syllables there are in the NATO nickname. One syllable, Bear, prop. Two syllables, TU-160 Blackjack, jet.

        All of these aircraft also perform duties as recce birds which is probably what these flights have been. Some might say that they are performing “exciter” flights to test our air defenses, which I guess are a kind of recce, just a bit more provocative. The Soviets used to do those from time to time against the Japanese (I’m a PACFLT Sailor through and through).

        As far as the TU-160 is concerned, to me they look like the TU-22 Backfire and Blinder jet bomber airframe. I don’t think they are a replacement for them, but I could be wrong.

        Bears are my favorite aircraft. I think they are beautiful. I remember one time when I was deployed in the USS Midway BG in the NORPAC and some Bears overflew us. One of them flew over my destroyer, the Oldendorf, at low altitude (and I mean LOW altitude). Gorgeous how the sun shone off of her.

        It’s been 14 years since I retired, so I don’t pay much attention to the Rooskies like I did when I was a Russian linguist, so your guess is as good as mine as to why they’re doing this.

        Hope this helps.

        • MustangCryppie says:

          Interesting article about the TU-95.

          The author mentions it was designed to have long endurance and I can attest to that. One time during one of their Defense of the Homeland exercises back in 1982 or 83, one stayed up for over 24 hours. Doing a recce mission against Alaska IIRC.

          And they did a strike mission as recently as 2015!

          • 5th/77th FA says:

            Lawd help, I love this place. If only poodle d^ck would learn that asking a reasonable question, in a polite manner, it will get you a straight, concise, fact filled answer…with added linkies!

            You da man on this subject MustangCryppie, hot wings and refreshing beverages are on me. The bulk of my knowledge of these aircraft, I must admit, come from Red Storm Rising. Figured the cruise missile angel would play in there somewhere but couldn’t remember how far along Ivan was with those. Part of that short term memory bank crash.

            Thanks again. Not bad at all for a swabbie, but then again, I didn’t expect to NOT get a good answer. Now if we could get poodle d^ck to pay more attention in class when VOV is lecturing!


            • MustangCryppie says:


              Yeah, once in a while we squids do good. Okay, a hell of a lot more than once in a while!

          • jim h says:

            dude. i’m in the middle of a lame effort at novel writing, and i am straight up going to be picking your brain on this. as it turns out, i actually was writing (and need) a russian-linguist sailor intel type for this story to work. you just got bumped to the top of my research pile.

            outstanding writeup.

            • MustangCryppie says:

              Just remember: “If I tell ya, I gotta kill ya.”


              And we Russian linguist were cryptologists (or cryppies as we used to say), NOT “intel types.”

              It’s inside baseball, but trust me, it meant a lot to us cryppies.

              • jim h says:

                fair enough. but i was a grunt with both infantry and military intel MOSs, so i tend to look at anybody with a brain job as an intel type. potato potahto.

                call yourself whatever you want, youre still a brother.

                • MustangCryppie says:

                  The Navy is funny in that we split up the SIGINTers (cryppies) from the other disciplines.

                  The cryptologists were under the Naval Security Group Command. The intel types under ONI.

                  Quite the rivalry built up over the years between the two disciplines.

              • Ex-PH2 says:

                Hey, crypto is as good as anything else in the secret squirrel department.

        • Ex-PH2 says:

          Thanks for that info, MMC!

          Is it possible that this is because we don’t have the old DEW system in place any more? With all those satellites, known and secret, flitting around up in space local, you’d think they’d know we’re on to them, wouldn’t you? Wasn’t DEW replaced by NORAD?

          Maybe it’s just a ‘poke & run’ to see how our reflexes are holding up, and the distraction is probably a factor, too.

          • MustangCryppie says:

            Boy, PH2, that reference to DEW made me look like a deer in the headlights. I have never heard of it.

            Had to look it up.

            All I will say about knowing whether we’re on to them is that, trust me, we’re on to them. They’re not catching anyone unawares.

          • Ex-PH2 says:

            There was the DEW Line (Distant Early Warning) and the Minuteman missiles planted around air bases like the one at Lincoln, NE. My grandma used to take us out to dinner at that base. The restrictions then weren’t even close to what they are now.

            If you lived anywhere near a city with even a small industrial base, e.g., Caterpillar plant or electronics factory, it was a target.

            I kind of miss those days. People were more realistic back then.

            • Claw says:

              Well, for sure the Rooskies have Kimball, NE targeted, since Kimball is known as “The Missile Capital of the USA”./smile

              • Claw says:

                PS – It’s a collusion between Bass Pro Shops and the Rooskies to take out the Cabellas store there in Kimball.

            • Drag Racing Maniac says:

              …and the Minuteman missiles planted around air bases like the one at Lincoln, NE…

              In the interest of historical accuracy, the missiles that were in service around Lincoln, NE were actually Atlas F silos belonging to the 551st Strategic Missile Squadron. The silos were built in 1961 and deactivated in 1965. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming…

        • CDR_D says:

          I remember the Bear D, with the ‘big bulge’ data linked radar for OTH targeting. They would be used in concert with the Echo and Juliet class Soviet subs carrying the SSN-3 Shaddock anti-ship missile. Mostly obsolete stuff now. Still, the Bear is an amazing aircraft with longevity rivalling the B-52.

  2. Slow Joe says:

    Wow. Those things still fly?

    Russian mechanics might be slightly better than I give them credit for.

    • The Other Whitey says:

      The Rooshians never throw shit away. They may sell it cheap, but they never throw it away.

      • Mason says:

        No kidding. Was recently reading about the guys who go out into the deep woods to cut up and reclaim the wreckage of the early booster stages from Soyuz launches. There are whole villages essentially made of parts of these things.

  3. Claw says:

    This is all a plot by the Air Force to have the discussions ramped up on turning the Cold War Service/Victory Medal (w/ R Device) into a real thing so that graduates of basic training will have ribbon #6 to wear on the uniform when they leave Lackland in-route to advanced training./smile

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Can I get one of those? I mean, Vietnam and all aside, the Cold War was on when I was doing my duty, so I should think they could spare one for me, couldn’t they?

      • Claw says:

        Should be easy enough to get ahold of a medal and certificate, (E-Bay, Medals of America, Bob Neener, etc) as the medal has been a featured part of at least a half-dozen posers/embellishers Luv-Me boxes pictured here on TAH.

        • AnotherPat says:

          The time period for that “medal” covered the period 1945-1991…What is sad, Claw, is that I had a Vietnam Veteran’s Family members asked me to assist them in submitting paperwork
          to the Army Board of Corrections to ensure that the Veteran received a DD215 annotating the Cold War Medal.

          I explained their request was going to denied. They could not understand since the Veteran had the Cold War Certificate and had already purchased the medal for his shadowbox.

          Family members honestly thought they were doing the right thing. i.e. they did not want the Veteran to be accused of “stolen valor”. Evidently, someone had informed the Veteran and his family that he was authorized a “new” medal to wear and display in his shadowbox.

          Don’t think they believed me…never found out if they tried to upgrade his military records on their own to reflect that “medal”.

  4. WOW, bring back the Dew Line and the
    USS Guardian AGR 1

  5. MustangCryppie says:

    Just for the hell of it, I bought one for shits and giggles a few years back.

    We used to joke that the medal itself should have been a hammer and sickle in an ice cube.

  6. Fareed says:

    The Marines are up here in their new F-35’s playing with the local Raptors out of Elmendorf so this should be expected. Testing the response of each other’s new crap has been going on since WW2 ended.

  7. AW1Ed says:

    There is a Cold War Cert, if you have an empty spot on your “I love me” wall.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      That is a gigglesnorrttt!

      • 5th/77th FA says:

        Believe I’ll pass on this and the bling. But then again, I don’t have an “I Love Me Wall” or a shadow box. I do have an original copy of my DD 214 and one of my dog tags with a well used P 38 on it.

        “…testify that I have at least ONE day of service between…..”

        “medal not authorized for wear by active duty…”

    • Thunderstixx says:

      They need to make one for us US Army Certified 9’Th Infantry Division Ski Instructors.
      You guys have no idea of the danger that I dealt with and how easy it is to become a casualty trying to ski on those fucking Silvretta Cable Binding skis !!!!!

      • Ex-PH2 says:

        You’re lucky to be alive!

        Have you been to the Po Valley yet? As I understand it, the 9th went in there looking for Germans and found tanks and bodies instead.

      • rgr769 says:

        Uh, the 9th never had ski instructors. But the 10th SFG(A) did. Maybe the 10th Mountain as well. But perhaps you were kidding. And yes, I have experienced Silvrettas and the infamous White Star skis.

  8. The Other Whitey says:

    I’ve read that a Bear’s blade tips are supersonic at most throttle settings, and that it’s hell on their crews’ ears. I’ve also read that the noise from a Bear’s props can be unbearable (no pun intended) in the cockpit of any fighter that gets too close to one.

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      I was told that due to those supersonic props, it is the loudest air-breathing aircraft, by far, ever.

      The air crews are mostly deaf. The ground crews also.

      • MustangCryppie says:

        Man, that must have been some noise!

        I flew in P-3’s and EP-3’s and they blew my ears out and I have the hearing aids to prove it. That constant loud hum for 10 hours at a pop messed up my hearing.

      • Thunderstixx says:

        Could you speak up please ???
        I can’t hear you through this internet thingy…..

      • 26Limabeans says:

        Contra rotating props will do that.

  9. rgr769 says:

    Pretty nice for those Rooskies to fly as a training aid for our radar and interceptor ops. Where else could our guys get this kind of real world training.

    • 26Limabeans says:

      I treid to get a job at the OTH site in Moscow (maine) but they tore it down before I could get my foot in the door.
      The tropo link back to BGR was my area of expertise but alas it was not to be.

      Coulda been somebody…

      • SFC D says:

        Tropo, that magical communication link that works on wishes and pixie dust!

        • Hondo says:

          Now, now – it’s NOT “magical”. It’s based on sound scientific and engineering principles.

          However, much like a mixed wide/narrow SCSI chain with multiple different types of devices from different manufacturers, you do need to sacrifice a goat from time to time to ensure it stays working. (smile)

  10. Eden says:

    Are the Russian “fishing trawlers” still trawling around, as well? Ya know, they gotta have all of those gazillion antennas to find the best/most fish.

    • MustangCryppie says:

      Probably replaced by the Chinese!

      Back in the day, 1983 to be exact, I was on a destroyer off the Strait of Juan de Fuca in Washington State. One time I went outside the skin of the ship for a breath of fresh air. We were pretty close to land, probably no more than about 15 miles offshore. There were probably 7 ships around us.

      Every single one of them was RUSSIAN.

      They were all there hoping against hope that they would catch a boomer leaving Bremerton.

      Kind of like this one from 2018:

      One day a boomer did leave and the Russian AGI hit the good foot in an effort to get alongside. We prevented them by cutting right in front of them. Pretty hairy stuff if I say so myself. But I wasn’t a ship driver, so what do I know?

      There were PISSED. Filed a demarche against us. Which to Sailors means jackshit. They didn’t get to our sub. That was all that mattered.

  11. Jim says:

    There was a used TU-95 for sale five years ago:

  12. Charles says:

    Yes, they are poking around the perimeter as they have for years, but CONTRARY to several Main Stream News reports, have never actually penetrated U.S. Airspace.

    The have entered the 200 mile Air Defense Identification Zone, and that, in the absence of a flight plan and coordination with NORAD, will result in an intercept.

    Just fucking with us, to be blunt, as we fuck with them.