The Associated Press reported Monday that Gen. Herbert Carlisle, Commander of United States Air Forces in the Pacific, acknowledged a significant increase in the activities by Russian long-range strategic aircraft flying along the California coast.

There was no comment about whether the aircraft were nuclear capable, but it has not been since the Cold War ended in the early 1990s that Russian patrols have skirted the West Coast and California.

Gen. Herbert J. “Hawk” Carlisle is the Commander of Pacific Air Forces; Air Component Commander for U.S. Pacific Command; and Executive Director, Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. As the PACAF, he is responsible for Air Force activities spread over half the globe in a command that supports 45,000 Airmen serving principally in Japan, Korea, Hawaii, Alaska and Guam.

Speaking Monday, May 5th at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a bipartisan Washington DC think tank, General Carlisle said there had been long-range Russian air patrols to the coast of California and a circumnavigation of the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. He noted that a U.S. F-15 fighter jet intercepted a Russian strategic bomber that had flown to Guam.

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