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Sep 5, 2021
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Why are American reconnaissance planes exploring Crimea

Photo: US Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft over neutral waters of the Black Sea.

Photo: US Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft over neutral waters of the Black Sea. (Photo: National Defense Control Center of the Russian Federation / TASS)

At the end of August in Chisinau, the celebration of the Independence Day of Moldova was not crowded. No, of course, Moldovans poured into the streets to watch the parade, this is always interesting for the people. But, one might say, it was deserted in the presidency, where Maya Sandu hosted the presidents of three particularly friendly states: Romanian Klaus Johannis, Pole Andrzej Dudu and Ukrainian Vladimir Zelensky… It was in this order that they were placed by the Moldovan news agencies, which told about the quadripartite meeting.

The meeting, which was planned as a blissful event with toasts in honor of gaining freedom and wishes for even greater progress on the path of democracy and economic prosperity, Zelensky turned into the channel of his traditional Russophobia. And he began to urge his colleagues to support in every possible way the anti-Russian projects “Crimean Platform” and “Associative Trio” started in Kiev, which include Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.

In general, he demonstrated a desire to join NATO, where Ukraine is feared to be admitted for its unpredictability and political extremism. But it is possible for a country to become “a little bit NATO” by tying itself to any military treaties with Poland.

His statement was quite expected: “Ukraine has consistently advocated the presence of forces and assets of NATO members in the Black Sea region, and the expansion of joint training programs.”

Meanwhile, NATO does not need special invitations to build up its presence in the Black Sea. Ukraine and the history of the return of Crimea to Russia became just a pretext for this presence. Because in the US military doctrine, Russia began to appear as the main enemy, both economic and military, long before 2014, when Washington conducted a brilliant operation to seize power in Kiev by anti-Russian forces. And although all this was implicated in the ideology condemned in Nuremberg, the saying is still in use in the States: “Even if he is a son of a bitch, but this is our son of a bitch”

The expansion of NATO’s presence in the region with openly unfriendly goals is quite obvious. Yes, they are not hiding, they sound in plain text from the mouth of the top leadership of the alliance. At the same time that Zelensky was roaming in Chisinau, in Brussels, NATO Deputy Secretary General Mirch Joanne said that by controlling the Black Sea, the West will be able to influence the situation in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. This will weaken Russia, which is even more important for the West.

And in the Black Sea, and especially off the coast of Crimea, it gets hotter every year. Commander of the 4th Air Force and Air Defense Army of the Southern Military District Nikolay Gostev told reporters that this year NATO reconnaissance aircraft appear at the peninsula three times more often. To escort aircraft demonstrating their intention to violate the borders of Russia, fighters rose to escort and intercept 15 times.

And the number of reconnaissance flights carried out by aircraft near the border without entering the territory of the Russian Federation, one might say, is off the charts. In 2019, there were 270 of them.For 8 months of 2021 – 560.

Three types of American aircraft are constantly grazing off the coast of Crimea. They are, one might say, “good old friends”, not only their airfields are known, but also their side numbers and call signs.

Strategic unmanned reconnaissance aircraft RQ-4B-40 Global Hawk regularly arrive from the Sicilian base of Sigonella, as if by a call at the beginning of the working day. This is a very expensive car, which costs about $ 200 million. Therefore, it is a pity for the Americans to lose such a thing, and it is kept at a considerable distance from the border, so as not to fall under an anti-aircraft missile. However, the aircraft is equipped with highly sensitive equipment installed less than 10 years ago. Capable of conducting radar and visual reconnaissance at a distance of up to 100 km. Flight range – 5500 km, can be in the air for 24 hours.

It should be especially noted that the RQ-4B-40 is surveying the territory of the peninsula. “Legally”, having received permission for such activities in Kiev in 2016.

“Do not break the laws” on the same basis, and two more American reconnaissance aircraft. The Boeing RC-135U Combat Sent and Boeing RC-135V / W Rivet Joint electronic reconnaissance aircraft, built on the basis of the passenger Boeing 707, arrive from the Souda Bay base on the island of Crete. These aircraft perform electronic reconnaissance by detecting electromagnetic radiation from military complexes and systems.

And one more plane regularly comes to the shores of the Crimea – the US Navy’s Boeing P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine patrol aircraft. But its functionality goes far beyond the search and destruction of submarines. “Poseidon” is equipped with a powerful electronic system, allowing to conduct electronic reconnaissance at the level of the specialized Boeing RC-135U Combat Sent.

NATO reconnaissance aircraft, which in fact represent the US Air Force and Navy, are absolutely interested in everything in Crimea: the location and operating frequencies of anti-aircraft missile systems (primarily the S-400 and S-300), the Bal and Bastion coastal missile systems, communication channels, work of ship electronics, ground command posts. That is, this kind of massive reconnaissance activity is carried out on the eve of the start of the air operation. This was the case on the eve of the US invasion of Iraq.

Air defense systems accompany these aircraft. However, they do this in a passive mode, when the antennas, without emitting scanning frequencies, work only for reception. That greatly complicates the life of the scouts, in connection with which they are content with an insignificant “catch”.

Recently, the activity of NATO surface ships has also become more active. In July this year, the traditional Sea Breeze naval exercise in the Black Sea broke the record for the number of participants. Here’s how they were announced on the official website of the US Navy: “This year, a record number of states are taking part in the exercises – 32 countries from six continents, which will provide 5 thousand military personnel, 32 ships, 40 aviation units and 18 diving teams and special operations groups.”… At the same time, the objectives of the exercises were indicated quite frankly: to support Ukraine in its struggle against the aggressor.

At the same time, the exercises ended in rather dangerous provocations. First, the British destroyer Defender invaded Russian territorial waters near Sevastopol. The destroyer commander did not react to the verbal warnings, stating later that he was in the waters of Ukraine. The front-line bomber had to drop four bombs along the ship’s course. This worked immediately – Defender immediately changed course.

A week later, the feat of the British destroyer decided to repeat the Dutch frigate Evertsen, which was trying to enter the Kerch Strait. But to sober up the frigate commander, several flights over the Su-24M and Su-30 ships were enough, during which the aircraft electronic warfare systems drowned out the ship’s communication with the outside world.

The American destroyer Ross also had problems trying to approach Russian waters. The Americans ignored the warning of the Black Sea Fleet patrol ship not to approach the shores of the Crimea. However, their moods changed when the radar detected radiation from the radar station of the aircraft sighting system. This story was described three days ago in the American edition of the Navy Times.

It is quite understandable that the United States does not intend to “harness” into a serious military adventure for the sake of Ukraine. As practice shows, they are extremely unreliable partners. However, the observed escalation, both air and sea, plays into their hands, since, firstly, it contributes to the escalation of tension in the region. And, secondly, it allows reconnaissance aircraft to be trained against a serious enemy with modern military equipment. But I would like to hope that in these extremely unfriendly actions they will not go too far, after which the situation may develop uncontrollably.

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