Russia’s Defense Ministry announced Friday that the missile firings took place during exercises involving eight Tu-95 Bear bombers—the same type of strategic bomber recently intercepted 50 miles off the California coast by U.S. jets.
Russian bombers, meanwhile, continued saber-rattling air defense zone incursions against Canada’s arctic and in Europe over the Baltic Sea.
On Monday, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu announced that Russian military forces had launched a large-scale “surprise” readiness exercise that was ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The president called upon President Putin to press the separatists to recognize and abide by the ceasefire and to halt the flow of weapons and materiel across its border into Ukraine,” the White House said in a statement.
The new cruise missile was not further identified by the ministry statement, other than being described as a “new, high-precision” guided cruise missile.
“In light of increasing tensions, Russia has also been busy exercising and demonstrating its strategic capabilities, reaping the benefits of decades of modernization,” Haney said during a defense industry breakfast June 18.
The large-scale nuclear exercise May 8 drills involved “significant nuclear forces and associated command and control in just six months since the last one back in October,” Haney told a defense industry breakfast June 18.
“Additionally, we have seen significant Russian strategic aircraft deployments in the vicinity of places like Japan, Korea and even our West Coast,” Haney said. “Russia continues to modernize its strategic capabilities across all legs of its triad, and open source [reporting] has recently cited the sea trials of its latest [missile submarine], testing of its newest air launch cruise missile and modernization of its intercontinental ballistic force to include its mobile capability in that area.”
A former Pentagon official said the new missile was likely an air-launched cruise missile designated KH-101 or KH-102. The Kh-101 is armed with a conventional warhead and the Kh-102 is a strategic nuclear delivery vehicle.
“The Obama administration Defense Department says the KH-102 is operational, and that is consistent with what the Russian press is saying,” said Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon strategic weapons analyst. “There is less Russian press on the KH-101.”