According to the Washington Free Beacon website two Russian Tu-95 Bear-H strategic bombers circled Guam island, in the Pacific Ocean, on Feb. 12.
“Defense officials said the bombers tracked over Guam were likely equipped with six Kh-55 or Kh-55SM cruise missiles that can hit targets up to 1,800 miles away with either a high-explosive warhead or a 200-kiloton nuclear warhead,” reports Bill Gertz in his piece.
The episode happened shortly before President Obama delivered his State of the Union address and prompted U.S. to scramble some Kadena F-15s temporary deployed to Andersen Air Force Base. The Eagles shadowed the two Russian bombers until they left the the area in a northbound direction.
Andersen AFB, on Guam, is strategically located 1,800 miles (about 2,900 km) to the east of China. It has hosted a deployed strategic bomber force since 2004; recently, the Air Force has announced it will base two B-2 Spirit bombers in the Pacific atoll.
Although this kind of incident is not frequent, this is not the first time Russian strategic bombers conduct a long range training sorties into the south Pacific. And circumnavigate Guam.
In 2007, President Vladimir Putin said Russia had resumed the long-range flights of its strategic bombers that had been suspended in 1992. According to Putin, those tours of duty would be conducted regularly and on strategic scale.
On Aug. 8, 2007 two Tu-95 undertook a 13-hour round trip from Blagoveshchensk base to “visit” Guam for the first time since the end of the Cold War.
Guam is among the key strategic U.S. military installations in the Pacific theater; a base that is pivotal to the Air Sea Battle Concept strategy designed to counter China’s military power in a region characterized by territorial disputes.