Russia has said it will revive its Soviet-era habit of sending bomber planes on patrols outside of its airspace. President Vladimir Putin made the announcement at a military exercise in the Ural mountains designed to demonstrate what Moscow says are anti-terrorist techniques. The practice of bomber patrols was abandoned in the 90s in order to cut costs.
But Putin said: “From today thiese kind of missions- combat missions- will be carried out regularly. The patrols are of a strategic nature. Already, right at this very moment, planes are in the air and will be up there for 20 hour periods with supplies and will be in permanent contact with the navy.”
Last week Russian bombers flew close to the Pacific island of Guam, where the US has a military base. Washington scrambled jets to track them but the encounter was not hostile. Analysts say the flexing of Russia’s military muscles is a sign of its growing assertiveness.