In a lame attempt at geopolitical intimidation, Russia again flies its Bear bombers very, very close to the sovereign airspace of other countries. The real symbolism here, however, comes from the fact these propeller-driven planes—yes, the very same aircraft we used to intercept with F-4s—are getting escorted out of the club by a couple Lockheed-Martin F-22A Raptors.

A U.S. Air Force F-4D Phantom aircraft (top) assigned to the 119th Fighter Wing ÒHappy HooligansÓ, North Dakota Air National Guard, intercepts a United Soviet Socialists Republic (Russian) TU-95 Bear bomber aircraft over the Arctic Ocean, during a flight to Keflavik, Iceland in 1983. Eight Russian TU-95 Bear bombers were intercepted by Hooligan pilots during the deployment. (A3604) (U.S. Air Force Photo) (Released)
A U.S. Air Force F-4D Phantom aircraft assigned to the 119th Fighter Wing “Happy Hooligans,” North Dakota Air National Guard, intercepts a Russian TU-95 Bear bomber aircraft over the Arctic Ocean, during a flight to Keflavik, Iceland in 1983. Eight Russian TU-95 Bear bombers were intercepted by Hooligan pilots during the deployment. (A3604) (U.S. Air Force Photo) (Released)

How we doin’?

Fact is, the Russians have flown these near-border flights regularly since Cold War days. They serve both as a flex tactic and surveillance mission, as these bombers are most certainly outfitted with numerous reconnaissance sensors.

Knowing this, American airmen have had some fun with their old adversaries, and continually show that the real military muscle is with the good guys.

Major David "Zeke" Skalicky, F-22A Raptor Demonstration Team pilot, performs at an airshow in 2010.
Major David “Zeke” Skalicky, F-22A Raptor Demonstration Team pilot, performs at an airshow in 2010.

As a note, a few minutes ago, while I was reading about Russian nuclear weapons, a Russian classmate of mine “happened” to knock on my door to “see how I was doing.”

Copy that, Mr. Putin, and touché.

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