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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


37th Supreme Command (Strategic) Air Army
[ex-Long Range Aviation (DA, Dal'nyaya Aviatsiya)

November 17, 2015, will go down in history of the Russian Armed Forces as the day when Moscow sent its strategic bombers into combat for the first time in the 21st century. Following a terrorist act which brought down a Kogalymavia Airbus A321 passenger airliner, claiming the lives of all 224 people on board, Russia pledged to boost its counterterrorism efforts in Syria.

The country deployed 25 long- and medium range bombers, including the Tupolev Tu-95 (Bear), the Tupolev Tu-160 (Blackjack) and Tupolev Tu-22M (Backfire), as well as eight Sukhoi Su-34 strike fighters. These aircraft were sent on a mission to launch massive airstrikes in the provinces of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor. A total of 34 cruise missiles destroyed 14 key ISIL targets on November 17.

One of the most important genera of the Air Forces of Russia - Long-Range Aviation - marked the 100th anniversary of its founding 23 December 2014. Long-Range Aviation is one of the most important components of nuclear deterrence forces. One of the priorities of the state defense order in 2015 is to provide enterprises with the industry modernized Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3. All machines that have passed modernization receive incorporates new systems and systems that will significantly increase their combat potential.

Strategic aviation is an intercontinental nuclear strike force that in the mid-1990s included about 15,000 personnel. In concert with the strategic rocket forces, it provides the Russian Federation's strategic nuclear threat. Organizationally, strategic aviation fell under the Long-Range Aviation Command of the air forces, but it was under the operational control of the Ministry of Defense. Bases are located in the Far Eastern, Moscow, and Northern military districts. According to the reckoning of START I, strategic aviation aircraft could deliver a total of 1,506 nuclear warheads, including bombs, cruise missiles, and air-to-surface missiles.

Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, a significant portion of modern heavy bombers turned out to be in Ukraine and Kazakhstan. This resulted in Russia having only 25 heavy bombers of a total number of 99 that belonged to the USSR that were capable of carrying cruise missiles, along with 61 bombers with nuclear weapons that did not carry cruise missiles. The Russian Air Force decided in November 1995 to buy all 19 Tu-160 "Blackjack" and 25 Tu-95 "Bear" bombers and more than 300 strategic cruise missiles from Ukraine.

A command and staff exercise of the 37th Supreme Command (Strategic) Air Army was held on 6-8 October 1998 involved all strategic aviation divisions and regiments. The exercise involved a scenario in which the politico-military situation in Europe had abruptly aggravated when NATO stepped up the realization of the program of enlargement eastwards by admitting new states of the former Soviet bloc. A number of East European countries e laid territorial claims on their neighbour states, including the Russian Federation.

The claims laid on Russia deal with the allegedly decreasing safety of the nuclear installations and facilities. Russia was threatened with the use of force, unless it complied with a number of NATO ultimatums. In the exercise scenario the Russian Air Force responded with limited demonstration nuclear strikes. The Tu-95MS Bear-H and Tu-160 Blackjack bombers will deliver Kh-55SM cruise missile attacks on uninhabited polar areas. Although such operations will not inflict losses on the enemy, it will be forced to halt operations and proceed to talks.

A total of 78 sorties were flown including 56 sorties of the 37th Air Army aircraft and 13 sorties of fighters. It was the first time when the exercise of such a scale was held in Russia. In the course of the maneuvers the aircraft made 15 ground bombings and two combat training missile launches, i.e. the Kh-55SM strategic missile launch from the Tu-95MS Bear-H and the Kh-22 theater missile launch from the Tu-22M3 Backfire.

The launches were made at the proving ground near the Caspian Sea, with the bombers flying to the launching areas using the so-called mirror routes. It meant that upon covering the half of the route to the target, the aircraft turned back and flew to the proving ground where they performed their combat training mission. Tu-22MR aircraft made two electronic reconnaissance sorties to the Japan Sea without entering the aerospace of the neighboring states.

Russian bomber patrol flights were common in the Cold War era, ending with the fall of the Soviet Union. But Russian President Vladimir Putin revived them in 2007.

Russia said it was sharply extending the range of its bomber flights from the Arctic Ocean to the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, a new show of military force even as Moscow continues to spar with the West over its intervention in Ukraine. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced the new flights 12 November 2014, saying that "in the current situation we have to maintain military presence" in the western Atlantic, the eastern Pacific, as well as over waters approaching the United States.

The additional flights came in the wake of accusations by NATO, the Western military alliance, that Russia recently has sent its fighters into European airspace in what it says are larger, more complex formations of aircraft flying more "provocative" routes than usual. NATO says Moscow has flown patrols over the Black, Baltic and North seas, along with the Atlantic Ocean.

As is well known, the "reforms" in Russia often lead to the previous system, which had tried to reform. In 2009, long-range aviation of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation moved from the traditional structure of divisions and regiments to structuring on air bases. First there were created 6950 Guards aviation Donbass Red Banner base in Engels, 6951 Guards air base in Shaykovka, 6952 Guards aviation Sevastopol-Berlin Krasnoznamennaya base in Ukrainka (Amur region), 6953rd Guards aviation Brest Red Banner base in the garrison White (Irkutsk region). In 2010, after another "optimization", instead of four, there left two airbases (Engels and Ukrainka) with subordinate air groups in other garrisons and regiments of missile-carrying naval aviation.

6950th Air Force Base 11 TU-160, 18 TU-95/MSEngels
AGp 6950th AFB 48 TU-22MShaikovka
6952th Air Force Base 36 TU-95/MSUkrainka
6952th Air Force Base 20 TU-22MOlenegorsk
AGp 6952rd AFB36 TU-22M, 3 An-30/32, 2 An-12Srednyy (Irkutsk)
199th Air Force BaseAn-12, MI-8Tiksi

NIn 2015, the command of air and space forces decided to form a new Heavy Bomber Air Division [TBAD], which included the Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3, based in Enegelse, Shaykovka and Mozdok.

Russian Defense Ministry completed the formation of a new Heavy Bomber Air Division (TBAD) in the Far East in October 2016. The aim of the air connection, which consisted of the strategic missile carriers Tu-95MS bombers and long-range bombers Tu-22M3, in particular, was patrolling the Pacific region in Japan, Hawaii and Guam. According to experts, the formation of a new large air showed the countries of the Pacific region and the US seriousness of Russia's eastern aspirations. The new division was formed on the basis of the 6953rd Guards Sevastopol-Berlin Red Banner Air Base. The structure of the compound included several tens of strategic and long-range bombers to be "placed on the ground" at Beiaya Tserkov (Irkutsk region) and Ukrainka (Amur region). It consists of several squadrons of bombers, long-range aircraft, stationed in East and Central Military District.

TBAD Far East became the second air connection of heavy bombers in the Russian air and space forces. In 2016, Russia replenished the 22th Heavy Bomber Division, composed of the strategic missile carriers Tu-160, Tu-95MS bombers and long-range bombers Tu-22M3, based at airfields in Mozdok, Engels and Shaykovka.

According to the Center for Strategic Research expert Anton Tsvetova, to the extent that, as Russia seeks to develop the eastern direction of its foreign policy, inevitably there is a need to ensure an appropriate level of security and Far Eastern borders. "Such a build-up of Russia's military capabilities in the Pacific, demonstrates the seriousness of Russia's eastern aspirations - said the flowers -. Russia's economic presence in Asia is still far from its potential, so in Moscow, apparently, consider it important to increase influence in the military field the more so. the development of regional security has always been a key element of Russia's participation in the Asian multilateral structures.

Prior to 2008, the 182th TBAD was stationed in the Far East, within which there were two air regiments of Tu-95MS strategic bombers, and the same regiments had Tu-22M3 long-range bombers. In the course of Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov's announced transition in 2008 to the "new look", the Division was split into two air bases, which were, however, some time later combined into one 6953rd AVB. Later, its membership also includes the Tu-22M3 aircraft of the Pacific Fleet.

In the Soviet Union the main tasks of the Far Eastern units of long range were attacks against US military bases in Japan, Guam, the then main base of US strategic bombers in the Pacific, as well as in places of deployment of the main forces of the Pacific Fleet of the US Navy in Hawaii islands. In times of peace the Soviet missile constantly patrolling these areas and followed the enemy activity. However, in the 1990s and early 2000s, these flights stopped. But according to foreign media reports about the appearance of Russian bombers in the Pacific Ocean, by 2016 patrolling in the triangle Japan-Guam-Hawaii was now once again a regular task of the Russian Far East bombers.

Starting from 2014 the Tu-95MS repeatedly appeared in the vicinity of the Japanese islands. On the interception of Russian "Bear" (the name of Tu-95MS by NATO classification) several times raised the American and Japanese fighters. In November 2015, another "ninety-fifth," without violating US airspace, for the first time several times circled the island of Guam (although formally the island is not a state, but belongs to the United States on the rights incorporated territory since 1898).

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