The Australian Defense Force went on heightened alert last month as Russian strategic bombers conducted exercises near its air defense zone, flying out of bases in Indonesia.
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) went on “increased readiness” while over 100 Russian personnel and several aircraft were stationed at the Biak Airbase in Indonesia’s eastern Papua province.
Two Russian Tu-95 nuclear-capable bombers flew their first-ever missions in the South Pacific, which led Australian defense officials to believe they were gathering intelligence information.
The Russian Ministry of Defence claims its strategic bombers “carried out air alert mission over neutral waters of south Pacific Ocean” in a flight lasting more than eight hours.
“For the Russians to send a couple of aircraft this far down south I think is really proving it’s got the capacity for that long-range reach,” Executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Peter Jennings said.
“It doesn’t surprise me in the least that our own military forces raised their alert levels in response,” he said, adding that the Russian aircraft deployment was a significant step for Moscow. [source]
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