The Old Russian Bear

Bear is the NATO designation for the Tu-95 prop-jet bomber Putin is using to show his new-found aggression. It’s over 50 years old, and we have nothing to fear.

Russia will resume, on a permanent basis, long haul missions for its strategic bomber aircraft, Vladimir Putin, said on Friday, resurrecting a cold war practice in the latest assertion of Moscow’s military might…

Two Tu-95 bombers flew over a US naval base on the Pacific island of Guam on August 9 and, according to a Russian air force general “exchanged smiles” with US pilots who had scrambled to track them.

I spent part of my youth figuring out how to shoot down Bears. It’s easy – they have an enormous radar cross section (four big spinning propellers), are very slow, and can’t fly above 40,000 feet.

So the smiles from the US pilots would have been because radar detects the Bear at least half an hour before it arrives, giving the fighter jocks time for an extra cup of coffee before scrambling.

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