The following report is from today’s Sputnik news. The B-1 Lancer long-range bomber entered service as a nuclear bomber in 1986 under Strategic Air Command. In recent days it has been engaging in war games over the Black Sea in conjunction with NATO fourth- and fifth-generation multirole combat aircraft, the U.S. Sixth Fleet flagship USS Mount Whitney, the USS Porter anti-missile destroyer and a Turkish refueling tanker.

Russian Military Detects US Air Force E-8C Reconnaissance, Strike Coordination Plane Over Black Sea

The aircraft, which departed from the Ramstein airbase in Germany, was escorted by Russian radar stations during the entire flight that lasted 5 hours and 13 minutes, the ministry noted. The E-8C came within 35 kilometres (21 miles) of the Russian border.

“On 9 November, between 14:15 and 19:28 [Moscow time, 11:15-16:28 GMT], a US Air Force E-8C ground target reconnaissance and strike control aircraft was detected over the Black Sea”, an official statement read.

The Defence Ministry also noted that US activity in the region (including military drills in the Black Sea) aims to examine the theatre of military operations in case of a possible escalation in Donbass.

“Taking into account the fact that in addition to the US Navy, tactical, patrol, and strategic aviation, as well as contingents of the armed forces of Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Turkey, and Ukraine are planned to be involved in the drills, there is obviously an examination of the alleged theatre of military operations in case of Kiev’s preparations for a belligerent solution [use of force] in the southeast”, the ministry said, adding that such actions are destabilising.

Russia has repeatedly expressed concerns about NATO’s escalating activity in the Black Sea, warning that it may result in unwanted incidents.

The E-8C is a modified Boeing 707-300 that is equipped with various detection systems to gather and display broad and detailed battlefield information.

U.S. B-1B refueled over the Black Sea by Turkish KC-135. Photo: Turkish Air Force.
USS Porter launching Tomahawk cruise missiles.
Launch of a Standard Missile-3 anti-ballistic missile interceptor of the sort Aegis-class guided-missile destroyers like USS Porter are equipped to carry.