Canadian jets repel Russian airspace probe -

Canadian jets repel Russian airspace probe

TU-95 long-range bombers intercepted 463 km east of N.L.


Two Canadian fighter jets raced to repel Russian bombers that made several attempts to probe Canadian airspace on Wednesday. The CF-18s took off from CFB Bagotville to intercept two TU-95 long-range bombers about 463 km east of Goose Bay, N.L. Attempts by Russia to test Canadian airspace have been going on sine 2007, and have increased in frequency since then. Defence Minister Peter MacKay said the Russians didn’t give Canada any advance notice of the probe, but stressed that although the planes did not enter Canada’s sovereign airspace, the bombers did come inside the 300 nautical mile zone that Canada claims. The TU-95 bomber is capable of carrying nuclear weapons and may have been loaded with warheads on this trip. MacKay said the government wasn’t aware what, if any, weapons were on board. Canada is in a race with Russia and other Arctic nations to lay claim to the frozen territory that may hold untold treasures.


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Canadian jets repel Russian airspace probe

  1. This sort of thing is an international incident waiting to happen. All it's going to take is for one of them to veer into sovereign airspace, and then someone at NORAD has to make a shoot/no-shoot decision while a possibly nuclear-armed Russian bomber flies inbound.

    • True, and it is so silly and meaningless, anyway. But I have to wonder about the timing of this. More precisely, I have to wonder about the timing of HEARING about this. It may well go on regularly, I have no idea, but we only hear about it when it advances Harper's agenda.

      I mean, we were both supposed to say, "Good thing we've got those F35s on order! We'll soon show them Ruskies!"

      • No actually, I've been hearing about it regularly since 2007. It was also pretty big news when the Russians tried a similar stunt near the UK a couple of years ago (and worse in that case because as I recall it actually violated an agreement).

        It may be that MacKay chose to release a public statement in this case to help people understand why we kind of need a capable figher force though. Canadians tend not to pay much attention to this stuff because it goes on behind the scenes, but that doesn't make it less important.

        • Okay, well, you're probably better connected to this sort of thing. I've only heard of one other instance in the last, say, three years or so. That other time was right around the time MacKay was gunning for the job as head of NATO or something. If I remember correctly, he made some macho statement about beating them back out of our airspace or something like that, and a few weeks later it was revealed the Russians were never in our airspace.

          I'm not saying the Russians aren't playing games. I'm saying its funny that it hits mainstream media (where I can't help but hear about it) when the narrative helps the government.

          • So the mainstream media – the same mainstream media who invented the "vaccine crisis" and is now trying to blow the Census debacle into another "national crisis" – is throwing the Conservatives a bone on this one? Do you honestly believe that? I must admit Jenn, I would expect just such an assertion from any number of posters, but not from you.

            I would also think that any military incident involving Russian military aircraft in our airspace is newsworthy. I don't see anyone torquing it or suggesting it was a major event. It's being reported because it happened.

          • You're kidding, right? See, the "left-wing media bias" is a talking point, it isn't the truth. All kinds of these dastardly stories that put Conservatives in a good light are reported.

            I would also think that any military incident involving Russian military aircraft in our airspace is newsworthy, that is my point! I've only heard about it twice–and both those times are times when it is advantageous to the government. If QMI and Gaunilon can be believed, and I think they can, this has happened several times. Why wasn't it newsworthy then?

            I'll answer my own question because I don't think anyone is catching my point on this. Because nobody told the media. And nobody told the media because it didn't do anything for them, so why bother? Let the media find their own stories (and of course the media no longer does that.)

          • I never said "left wing media". I am making reference to the typical media habit of creating mountains out of molehills, and piling on; something they've been particularly adept at doing lately, what with all these "crises". Even the venerable MacLeans magazine referred to the census debacle as a "national crisis" the other day. So it would seem they are not currently in the business of delivering the government's propaganda.

            Speaking of which, the "talking points" accusation is getting a little stale. Even if I was attempting to offer a defense of the current government (which I wasn't), that doesn't automatically mean I"m regurgitating "talking points". It's a mistake to assign motives that you can't possibly know. A Russian jet flew close to our airspace. We intercepted. These things have happened before, they are newsworthy, and contrary to what you say, they've been reported before.

            Earlier this week, a CF-18 crashed during a training run in Alberta. That, too was reported. And guess what? Numerous commenters over at the CBC website started musing about how "conveniently timed" the coverage of the plane crash was. I don't need to tell you how silly that is, nor do I need to point out the parallels between those comments and yours.

          • I know you never said "left-wing media," you let it stand that mainstream media would never "throw the Conservatives a bone". What else was I supposed to think? I completely agree with you that mainstream media piles on, and everybody gets on the same story, leaving all other stories unreported. It is particularly annoying to me because I listen to NewsRadio in the morning, and every morning, only about eight things happened in the world–over and over and over.

            I also never accused YOU of spouting talking points, so I don't know why you're getting upset about them.

            But you're kidding with the plane crash in Alberta being considered conveniently timed, right? Accidents in or in preparation of airshows are always big news.

            But just because somebody else said something silly, that doesn't mean my point is silly. And my point is that the mainstream media doesn't pick up on stories about Russians testing our airspace unless they are handed it by someone to make that someone look good.

          • It's perfectly believable that MacKay chose to publicize this one because of the F-35 announcement. However, these incidents are not uncommon – they just don't normally make as big a splash. And the mainstream media is hardly onside when it comes to national defense, so I don't think you have to worry about them trying to manipulate the story in MacKay's favour.

          • I'm not suggesting anyone is manipulating the story in MacKay's favour. I'm suggesting that the story only comes out when it's already in MacKay's favour.

            Actually, no, I take that back a bit. The last time, it seems it was manipulated to be more in MacKay's favour "The theory started developing as people puzzled over MacKay's unprompted broadside against Moscow one Friday morning in February, nine days after the fairly routine Feb. 18 flight of a long-range Russian bomber that came close to, but did not enter, Canadian and American airspace." Emphasis mine.

          • Is this making a big splash? It seems the coverage is about standard for this sort of incident.

          • Well, you're right that my definition of "it is reported" is "have I heard about it" so that might be just a tad subjective.

    • That's why we have NORAD.

      • Do you suppose that Harper had a conversation with Putin? "Hey – fly a couple of
        nuclear capable bombers into Canadian airspace to advance my agenda?"
        Yeah – that makes about as much sense as commenting on the timing….
        Somehow I think Russia may have its own agenda.

        • Misplaced reply, perhaps?

  2. If it was an actual serious act against Canada, our 65 new jets wouldn't be enough.

    And spending enough $ to make our jets enough would destroy the fiscal foundation of the country.

    • A serious act against Canada is a serious act against the USA (that's why we have NORAD), so our 65 jets contribute to the total number of defensive assets deployed.

      Maybe 65 isn't the perfectly right number. But neither, certainly, is zero.

    • Mike's not worried. He sounds like he would welcome Russian liberation from our current government in Ottawa.

  3. Jesus, what these Harper servile minions will do to change the channel and themselves look like heroes.
    These bums in the PMO would fear monger their own mothers, wives and children in the name of Harper.

    We have a sociopath in the PMO…for the sake of our country…he has to go.

    • So a Russian jet makes an unauthorized foray into our airspace, and it somehow is the result of the evil machinations of Stephen Harper? There is healthy skepticism and then there is unhealthy paranoia. Guess which category describes you?

      • My understanding is that they did not cross into our airspace in this case.

  4. Is it actually true that the jets can be carrying nukes? Does the Kremlin have physical control of a potential launch? Not that I trust Putin, but I don't like the idea that we could be nuked because some Russian jet jockey decides he wants some infamy.

    • It is very unlikely they would be carrying weapons, especially nuclear ones. The purpose of these flights is to train their crews, and test our response times. There would be no benefit to adding the additional weight, risk and complexity of carrying nuclear weapons. Given the Russian penchant for centralized authority it is also very unlikely any individual bomber captain would be physically able to arm and launch nuclear weapons by himself. See "Dr. Strangelove" for the procedures required even in the fictional US of the sixties.

      • True that. Nuclear weapons on training flights is not considered "best practice".

    • Yes, it is actually true that the jets can be carrying nukes. Naturally it is highly unlikely unless they actually plan to attack, but we have no way of knowing that when the bogie is inbound and we don't have notification. It could be a training op, a recon op to calibrate our response/signals, or an attack. Impossible to tell for sure. You can see how, if the possibility of nukes exists, one starts to hit some very tough decisions in a very short period of time if that bomber heads inland. This is why it's an international incident waiting to happen.

      • Well, they could, in theory. But it seems unlikely that the Russians would start a nuclear war by having two Bears launch a surprise nuclear attack on Goose Bay.

        Still, there is, as you suggest, always the chance of a misunderstanding – which is why it is odd that they did not advise us of this flight first – they usually have in recent times. After all, we aren't even in a cold war with our Russian neighbours these days are we?

        • I've always felt that Goose Bay was the logical flashpoint for the start of World War III.

  5. Gas reserves beneath the Arctic ice have an estimated value of several billions of dollars.
    The world's major powers have an enormous appetite for this energy, and it would be terribly naieve of us to think that the Americans, Russians and others would be content to accept our claim to this resource. Russia in particular has learned that there can be considerable value contained in these frozen wastelands (see Alaska–sale of), and we can expect them to continue "testing" our resolve.
    Once the extraction technology becomes economically viable, we can expect a multi-national "gold rush" to this area.

  6. Those damned ruskies out to plant another flag and smuggling vodkas!

  7. In the novel "BEAR: Flight to Liberty" (available at the crew of a TU-95 Bear D of the Soviet Naval Aviation defects precisely to Goose Bay AB, on August 4th, 1976. It's really ironic that now I'm seeing REAL TU-95 Bears flying near that same airbase! Déjà vu?

  8. This is utter rubbish. There is no Arctic "territory" up for grabs and everyone is following the VERY CLEAR law that divides the resources of the Arctic Ocean and continental shelf. No tension here, just a lot of bluster.

  9. Since this sort of thing happens about 18 times a year, it's curious that it's making headline news at this particular time. Maybe it has something to do with the Harper government's plan to purchase military jets that are unsuitable for Arctic defence, or maybe its because of the unexpected reaction to the cancellation of the mandatory long-form census.

  10. Just a note on report`s that the russian bombers are dinosaurs;

    The bombers in question are the modern variant Tu 95 MS which were built in the late 80`s early 90`s. Our CF-18 Hornets were built in the late 70`s and delivered in the early 80`s. This would suggest that they are at least slightly more advanced in their electronic capabilites.

    The Tu 95 ms carries up to 8 KH 101 or 102 (Conventional or nuclear) ALCM`s (air launched cruise missles) which have a range of at least 3000KM`s.

    The recent probing of Canadian airspace was reported to be 463KM East of NFLD. This puts the Bears within tactical striking distance as far west as Toronto and South as New York and all points in between.

    This is a genuine tactical threat and needs to be given serious attention.

  11. "although the planes did not enter Canada's sovereign airspace". Didn't Harper claim that there was no more Canadian sovereignty or Canadian economy?

    So wtf is their problem… The NEW WORLD ORDER will eliminate all of this right? Jokers!

    Oh wait, maybe they were terrorists…

  12. Funny how nobody is noticing that the russian bombers have been continiously being intercepted in europes and north american airspace this year. there is something on the rise and the pleps dont notice anything.

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