Thursday, June 22, 2017

Su-27 and F-16NATO-Russian Aerial Intercepts Intensify Amid Escalation in Europe

    Su-27 and F-16

    NATO-Russian Aerial Intercepts Intensify Amid Escalation in Europe

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    The attempt by a NATO fighter aircraft to approach a Russian plane carrying Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu became only the latest episode in a string of similar incidents as the alliance’s warplanes continue to test Russia’s defenses amid growing military escalation in Europe.

    On June 21 a NATO F-16 fighter aircraft made an attempt to approach the plane carrying Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu over neutral Baltic waters, but was promptly chased away by a Russian Su-27 warplane.
    This incident, however, wasn’t a singular occurrence, to put it mildly, as only a day prior to that, on June 20, Russia scrambled its fighters to intercept a US Boeing RC-135 surveillance plane, and on June 6 Russian fighters intercepted a US B-52 strategic bomber which attempted to approach Russia’s borders; both intercepts also took place over the Baltic Sea.
    It should be noted that while the Pentagon officials sought to gloss over the incident involving Shoigu’s plane, claiming that the NATO fighter was merely following standard procedure, they blasted the RC-135 intercept, branding the Russian pilot’s actions as unsafe, according to RT.
    However, Ret. Lt. Gen. Aytech Bizhev, former Deputy Commander of the Russian Air Force, said the attempt to ‘escort’ the Defense Minister’s plane looks like a deliberate provocation.
    "It was a violation of flight rules over international waters. The US Air Force aircraft created a dangerous situation over the Baltic Sea by approaching (Shoigu’s plane) at an unacceptable distance according to international law. Anything could’ve happened: the planes might’ve collided, the pilot’s hand could’ve slipped, and the fighter’s slipstream could’ve caused the plane to stall. There were many risk factors involved," he said.
    General Bizhev also remarked that while the NATO F-16 obviously didn’t intend to attack the Russian Defense Minister’s plane, the F-16 pilot was showing off.
    Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry pointed out that during the past week NATO surveillance planes had attempted to approach Russia’s borders on at least 15 occasions.
    The number of incidents involving Russian and NATO military aircraft has continued to steadily increase since 2014, when the relations between Moscow and Washington took a turn for the worse amid the crisis in Ukraine.
    While NATO surveillance aircraft continue to probe Russian borders, the alliance also keeps funneling troops and military hardware to Eastern Europe, effectively creating a sizeable strike force right on Russia’s doorstep while claiming that this military buildup is a purely defensive measure.
    While Russia moves to create adequate countermeasures to NATO’s new strategy, the alliance seeks to gain more intelligence about Moscow’s military preparations, which results in a steadily increasing number of surveillance flights near the country’s borders and therefore in an increasing number of aerial intercepts.
    It should also be noted that while in September 2016 the Pentagon claimed that US military aircraft conducting flights over the Baltic Sea would keep their transponders on – a move that might’ve helped to deescalate tensions and avoid potentially dangerous incidents – it appears that the US leadership chose to renege on this promise.

    Manlio Dinucci -- Star Wars: a quantum leap from fiction to reality


    Star Wars: a quantum leap from fiction to reality

    At the beginning of the race to space, the Great Powers had agreed in the UN to refrain from storing weapons in space. However, without knowing whether or not it had violated this principle, the United States then deployed a range of weapons enabling it to destroy enemy satellites; in theory from Earth and not space.
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    In the collective imagination, space weapons are those you find in science –fiction movies such as the Star Wars series. What I find difficult to fathom is, why, even though almost no-one in the media talks about it, they have transitioned to reality.
    The race to weapons, including nuclear weapons, has for some time now been extended from Earth to Space. Leading the pack is the United States, which aims increasingly at gaining military control over space. As soon as Heather Wilson (neo-secretary of the U.S. Air Force), took up her position, she makes an announcement on 16 June that the headquarters will be reorganized to empower space operations, integrating them even further into those of the Air Force. The declared intention: 
    “to organize and train forces to be able to prevail whenever a future conflict may be extended to space”.
    The responsibility for military space systems lies with the Strategic Command (StratCom), which at the same time is responsible for nuclear-weapons and cyber-arms which are fundamental for the American style of war in every theatre across the whole globe”. So writes General John Hyten, the commander of StratCom, last February. He emphasizes: “our nuclear forces are secure and ready at any moment” and adds that “if deterrence were to fail, we would be ready to use nuclear weapons”.
    For Pentagon strategies, maintaining superiority in space equates to the following: 
    • having the capability to attack an enemy that is militarily strong;
    • paralyzing this enemy’s defences;
    • even striking the enemy with nuclear weapons; and,
    • if the enemy happens to be equipped with such weapons, neutralizing its response.
    To this end, nuclear weapons, space systems and cyber arms are integrated by the Pentagon into “the full spectrum for the global capabilities for attack”, on earth and in space. On 7 May, after orbiting a Earth for 718 days, the U.S. Air Force’s robotic shuttle (X-37B) landed at Cape Canaveral. This shuttle can manoeuvre in space and re-enter the base independently. The X-37B, on its fourth “top secret” mission in space, probably serves (according to the opinion of most experts) to test out weapons for destroying enemy satellites and thus “to overcome” the enemy when it is under attack. At the same time, laser weapons are being developed, which have already been tested by the ship USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf. On 16 March, Lockheed Martin communicated that it has developed a powerful lazer, which within a few months will be installed on a special auto-vehicle belonging to the U.S. Army for a series of test. Yet again in March, General Brad Webb declared that within a year, an AC-130 airplane will be armed with a laser for attacking land targets.
    On 3 April, scientists at Macquarie University announced that through their lab work, they have created a superlaser (similar to “Black Death” in Star Wars), for future space applications. In this field, the United States is streets ahead but, as happens with every other system of weapons, other countries, notably Russia and China, are developing similar military technology. In 2008, Moscow and Peking proposed an international agreement to prevent arms being deployed in space; but first the Bush administration and after that the Obama administration refused to enter into negotiations on this matter.
    Thus, while negotiations are taking place in the United Nations on a legal ban on nuclear weapons (negotiations in which none of the nuclear powers nor any member of Nato (including Italy) are participating, the race to militarize space is gaining momentum, with the US being the pace-maker. For this race is functional to preparations for a nuclear war.
    Anoosha Boralessa
    Article licensed under Creative Commons
    The articles on Voltaire Network may be freely reproduced provided the source is cited, their integrity is respected and they are not used for commercial purposes (license CC BY-NC-ND).

    Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    Su-27 Drives NATO F-16 Away From Russian Defense Minister's Plane in Baltic Sky

      Su-27 and F-16

      Su-27 Drives NATO F-16 Away From Russian Defense Minister's Plane in Baltic Sky

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      A Su-27 drove NATO's F-16 away from the Russian defense minister's plane in the Baltic airspace.

      KALININGRAD (Sputnik) — The North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) F-16 supersonic multirole fighter attempted to get close to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu's plane over neutral Baltic waters but was chased away by a Russian jet, a Sputnik correspondent reported Wednesday.
      Shoigu was en route to the westernmost Russian city of Kaliningrad when the F-16 attempted to make an approach.
      Russia's Sukhoi Su-27 fighter, one of the aircraft escorting Shoigu's plane, then displayed its weapons, prompting the F-16 to retreat.
      On June 6, the Russian Defense Ministry said it scrambled a Su-27 air superiority fighter over the Baltics to to intercept and escort a US B-52 strategic bomber that approached its borders.
      On May 12, the ministry said Moscow scrambled a Su-30 fighter plane on May 9 over the Black Sea to intercept a US reconnaissance aircraft.

      Russian defense minister's plane buzzed over Baltic by NATO jet – onboard media

      Russian Defense Minister's plane buzzed over Baltic by NATO jet – onboard media

      Russian defense minister's plane buzzed over Baltic by NATO jet – onboard media
      A NATO F-16 fighter jet has tried to approach the Russian defense minister’s plane above the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea. The plane was warded off by a Russian Su-27 escorting the minister’s aircraft, according to journalists who were on board.
      Russian plane was en route to the city of Kaliningrad, a western Russian enclave between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea, where Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu is scheduled to discuss security issues with defense officials on Wednesday.
      Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that he has no information about the incident.
      “It’s probably better to ask the Defense Ministry,” Peskov said in answer to journalists’ questions.


      At midday on Friday 5 February, 2016 Julian Assange, John Jones QC, Melinda Taylor, Jennifer Robinson and Baltasar Garzon will be speaking at a press conference at the Frontline Club on the decision made by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on the Assange case.


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