“Recent Russian Bomber Flights were probing NATO’s radar gap in the GIUK Gap,” Former commanding general of US Army Europe says

“Recent Russian Bomber Flights were probing NATO’s radar gap in the GIUK Gap,” Former commanding general of US Army Europe says

By Dario Leone
Mar 21 2020
Share this article

Retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, former commanding general of US Army Europe, says Russia is attempting to map the contours of the radar coverage in the GIUK gap.

Retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the former commanding general of United States Army Europe from 2014 to 2017, told The Irish Times that recent flights by Russian bombers suggest the Kremlin is mapping gaps in NATO’s radar coverage.

According to Hodges in fact, Russia is flying bombers into Irish-controlled airspace to test response times by the RAF and other NATO airforces and to “map” radar coverage, trying to pick at “a seam” that has developed between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom in the wake of Brexit.

Last week two RAF Typhoon fighter jets were promptly scrambled to intercept two Russian Tupolev Tu-95 Bear bombers that entered international airspace controlled by the Irish Aviation Authority off Ireland’s west coast on two occasions.

It was reported last Friday that, on a third flight mission in six days, two Russian Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack supersonic strategic bombers flew around the northern coast of Scotland and south along the west coast of Ireland before turning for home in the Bay of Biscay.

Three RAF Typhoon fighters were dispatched from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland to track them.

Hodges says Russia is attempting to map the contours of the radar coverage in the Greenland-Iceland-U.K. (GIUK) gap.

Ireland’s status as a non-NATO country could be seen by Russia as “a seam that could be exploited”, he added.

“They are testing response times and techniques. They do this all around the Black Sea as well as up in the Atlantic and in the Baltic region,” Hodges pointed out.

He expects the Russians to “continue testing to see how we respond, to continue to do reconnaissance, to map out the contours of what the radar coverage is and what can we do. This all goes into their big data effort to use for a rainy day.”

The former officer in command put the expansion of the Russian embassy in Rathgar, south Dublin, down to the Kremlin’s same strategic interest because this could be part of Russia’s strategy to exploit areas that undermine the cohesion of institutions such as the European Union and NATO.

Commercial and private flights over the Atlantic had to be warned about last week’s flights as the Russian military aircraft were “unscheduled” and flying without making contact with air traffic controllers, the Department of Transport said.

“They are doing this without their transponders turned on which is incredibly dangerous and reckless,” Hodges explained.

Instead according to Victoria Loginova, spokeswoman for the Russian embassy in Dublin, the bombers were carrying out routine training missions and these were conducted “in strict accordance to all ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organisation] rules and regulations.”

“Recent Russian Bomber Flights were probing NATO’s radar gap in the GIUK Gap,” Former commanding general of US Army Europe says
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 No. 29(R) Squadron, ZK308 / TP-V – 2014

Share this article

Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share this article

Share this article
Share this article

Always up to date! News and offers delivered directly to you!

Get the best aviation news, stories and features from The Aviation Geek Club in our newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox.

Error: Contact form not found.

Share this article
Back to top
My Agile Privacy
This website uses technical and profiling cookies. Clicking on "Accept" authorises all profiling cookies. Clicking on "Refuse" or the X will refuse all profiling cookies. By clicking on "Customise" you can select which profiling cookies to activate. In addition, this site installs Google Analytics in version 4 (GA4) with anonymous data transmission via proxy. By giving your consent, the data will be sent anonymously, thus protecting your privacy. We and our selected ad partners can store and/or access information on your device, such as cookies, unique identifiers, browsing data. You can always choose the specific purposes related to profiling by accessing the advertising preferences panel, and you can always withdraw your consent at any time by clicking on "Manage consent" at the bottom of the page.

List of some possible advertising permissions:

You can consult: our list of advertising partners, the Cookie Policy and the Privacy Policy.
Warning: some page functionalities could not work due to your privacy choices