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MOSCOW, December 16. /TASS/. Flights of United States and NATO reconnaissance aircraft have become much more frequent in the Baltic region in the outgoing year, Colonel General Viktor Bondarev, commander-in-chief of the Russian Air Force, said on Tuesday.
“In 2014, the number of flights by reconnaissance aircraft of the United States and NATO countries over territories of the Baltic countries, the Baltic and Barents Seas has increased considerably,” he told a briefing, adding that there were typically eight to twelve such flights a week.
These reconnaissance aircraft, according to Bondarev, were flying in the exact vicinity of the Russian borders making it possible to take electronic interceptions to a distance of 500 kilometers inside Russia with an eye of tracing the flights and characteristics of Russia’s electronic systems of control over troops, missile defense and aviation.
“Strategic reconnaissance aircraft RC-135 of the US Air Force perform flight practically every day. Thus, RC-135 made more than 140 flights in 2014, in contrast to 22 flights in 2013,” he noted.
Apart from that, Swedish Gulfstream reconnaissance aircraft, German Orion P-3C aircraft, Danish Challenger aircraft and Portuguese Orion planes temporarily deployed at Lithuania’s Zokniai are constantly used to collect reconnaissance information about the activities of the Russian armed forces in the Kaliningrad region and in the Baltic waters.
“These planes make flights over the southeastern section of the Baltic Sea and in the vicinity of Russia’s state border,” the general said. “In 2014, reconnaissance aviation performed more than 200 flights in this zone. In 2013, there were 125 such flights. Equipment onboard of these planes enables them to survey the entire Kaliningrad region.”
He also said that the North Atlantic Alliance was massively using airborne warning and control system aircraft to survey the air situation over the western section of the Black Sea, Ukraine and western Russia.
“E-3 Senty airborne warning and control system aircraft (also known as AWACS) are massively used to survey the air situation over the western section of the Black Sea, Ukraine and western Russia,” Bondarev said, adding that such aircraft are based at Germany’s Geilenkirchen, at Turkey’s Konya, and Greece’s Preveza. Apart from that, similar aircraft of the British and French air forces based at Waddington and Avord are involved in these tasks, he noted.