The Bear Comes Out of Hibernation
By Commander T. J. McKearney, U.S. Navy (Retired)
The Russian overflight of U.S. forces operating near Guam last August brings flashbacks to those of us who grew up in the Cold War Navy. A routine part of our deployments then was to anticipate similar events by the Soviet naval air forces. From the first indication that a Soviet Bear D (Delta) reconnaissance aircraft had launched in search of our carrier battle or amphibious ready group, to the highly photogenic overflight of the lumbering, turboprop-driven behemoth with its escort of our F-14s, we were ready. The surveillance, intercept, and engagement resources of the U.S. battle group and supporting forces ashore were all boresighted on catching the Soviets outside the launch envelope of their antiship missile-equipped Badger and Backfire bombers.