US forces in southern Syria have shot down an Iranian-made armed drone in the second such incident in 12 days, in a further sign that Washington and Tehran’s agendas are colliding along the Syrian-Iraqi desert frontier.
A US F-15 fighter jet opened fire on the drone in the early afternoon because it was approaching a US outpost near al-Tanf where US advisors were training an anti-Isis local militia, according to the Pentagon spokesman, Capt Jeff Davis.
“The F15 intercepted the armed UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] after it was observed advancing on coalition positions. It had ‘dirty wings’, meaning it was loaded with ordnance. The UAV did not make an attempt to divert, Davis said.
Al-Tanf is a strategic point near the Syrian, Iraq and Jordanian borders. In a similar incident on 8 June, an Iranian-made drone of the same kind dropped a bomb near US troops at the same training outpost before it was shot down by a US plane.
“We have said before that demonstrated hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces towards coalition partner forces in Syria that are conducting legitimate counter-Isis operations in Syria, will not be tolerated,” Davis said. “We do not seek conflict with any party in Syria other than Isis but we will not hesitate to defend ourselves or our partners if necessary.”
Read More at the Guardian.
An armed Russian fighter jet buzzed a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance aircraft in the Baltic Sea on Monday, two U.S. officials told Fox News.
The Russian Su-27 jet had air-to-air missiles under its wings and approached the U.S. Air Force RC-135 recon jet “rapidly,” coming within 5 feet of the American aircraft, the officials said.
Once alongside, the Russian jet was “provocative” in its flight maneuvers and flying “erratically,” according to another official.
Since June 2 there have been more than 35 interactions in the Baltic Sea region between U.S. and Russian jets and warships, but the incident Monday morning is notable because the U.S. military considered it “unsafe,” according to one official.
Read More at Fox News.
Russia is building a military research and testing center in the Arctic region, furthering its already strong hold to land claims in the region, at the expense of other world powers. Lt. Gen. Igor Makushev, head of the Military-Scientific Committee of the Russian Armed Forces, said the center will be used to test weapons, tactics, and logistics in the vital territory. Russia has an immense northern region which they are militarizing aggressively.
“On the orders of the president [Vladimir Putin], and in the framework of the development of the Arctic zone, it is planned to establish in 2017 an Arctic research and testing scientific center with branches in Arkhangelsk, Priozersk and St. Petersburg,” Makushev said, reports Business Insider.
The Arctic region is estimated to hold 22% of the world’s minerals and resources. U.S. military commanders admit Russia is far ahead of Western nations in Arctic war fighting capability.
“In the last few years, Russia has activated a new Arctic command, four new Arctic brigade combat teams, 14 new operational airfields, 16 deepwater ports, and 40 icebreakers with 11 more in the making. Moscow also unveiled its second Arctic military base in late April,” reports Business Insider.
Russia has developed multiple different weapons systems to be used in the cold weather, including missile systems, artillery, armored vehicles, etc
Vyacheslav Alekseyevich Nikonov
Russia would be forced to use nuclear weapons in any conflict in which U.S. or NATO forces entered eastern Ukraine, a member of Russia’s parliament told an international gathering of government security officials on Sunday.
“On the issue of NATO expansion on our borders, at some point I heard from the Russian military — and I think they are right — If U.S. forces, NATO forces, are, were, in the Crimea, in eastern Ukraine, Russia is undefendable militarily in case of conflict without using nuclear weapons in the early stage of the conflict,” Russian parliamentarian Vyacheslav Alekseyevich Nikonov told attendees at the GLOBSEC 2017 forum in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Russian military leaders have discussed Moscow’s willingness to use nuclear weapons in a conflict with military leaders in NATO, as part of broader and increasingly contentious conversations about the alliance’s expansion, Nikonov later told Defense One
Nikonov’s threat might sound startling, but it’s in keeping with the current state of Russia’s ever-evolving policy on the use of nuclear weapons. While the Soviet Union maintained a policy against the first use of nukes, Putin’s government turned away from that strict prohibition in 2000 with the signing of a new military doctrine that allows for the limited use of nuclear weapons “in response to large-scale aggression utilizing conventional weapons in situations critical to the national security of the Russian Federation.”
Putin has also shown a growing willingness to invest in nuclear-weapons technology. In March, he vowed to put more money into new intercontinental ballistic missiles, so-called “strategic” nuclear forces, and to prioritize those military investments “above all” other areas.
Read More at DefenseOne.
Two RAF Typhoon jets were scrambled from the Lossiemouth base in Scotland this morning after Russian planes entered UK airspace.
An Airbus Voyager KC3 tanker was also dispatched from Brize Norton in Oxfordshire and was tracked heading north before going into a holding pattern off the Aberdeenshire coast.
They were responding on ‘quick alert’ to two Russian aircraft which had entered British airspace.
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: ‘Two Typhoons were scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth this morning as part of the RAF’s Quick Reaction Alert in response to two Russian aircraft entering the UK’s airspace.
“Both aircraft have now returned safely to RAF Lossiemouth.”
It comes amid a heightened state of security across the country just days after the worst terror attack on British soil in more than a decade happened in Manchester.
RAF fighters have repeatedly been scrambled to the skies over Britain to ward off incursions from Russian jets, including in February when aircraft were sent to monitor two bombers which passed near UK airspace.
The Tupolev TU-160 Blackjacks were in the UK’s ‘area of interest’ but did not enter British territory, the RAF said at the time.
The nuclear-capable Blackjack, the largest bomber aircraft in the world, were monitored coming from the north east and passed to the west of Ireland.
In January, Type 23 frigate HMS St Albans was deployed to ‘man mark’ the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and its battlegroup as the vessels sailed close to UK territorial waters, returning from operations supporting the offensive in Syria.
Read More at the Daily Mail UK.