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US Drone Spotted Flying Near Russian Border Second Time in Two Days



US Drone RQ-4 Global Hawk Spotted Near Russian Black Sea Borders - Reports

Late last week, a US Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk flew around Russia’s northwestern borders for eleven hours.

The latest drone flight, spotted by PlaneRadar, a Russian aviation resource, spotted the US drone taking off from the US airbase at Sigonella, Italy, flying over Greece, through Turkey, through Romania, and into Ukraine, making a loop in the country’s east, and then heading southwest around the western and southern coast of Crimea toward Krasnodar, southern Russia.

Taking off at 7 am Moscow time, the drone made it to Ukrainian airspace shortly after 9 am, spending close to twelve hours in Ukraine and the Black Sea, wrapping up its mission shortly before 10 pm Moscow time. 

Additionally, at 18:29 Moscow time, the portal picked up a Boeing P-8A Poseidon spy plane, also flying near Crimea, and occasionally intersecting with the drone’s flight path.

The US has stepped up its aerial recon along Russia’s borders considerably in recent years, together with the buildup of NATO forces in the region. On Friday, an RQ-4, also taking off from Sigonella, flew through to the Baltic states, making several loops around the exclave of Kaliningrad, and then spending over three hours looping near the border next to Russia’s Leningrad and Pskov regions.


Iranian Spy Drones Now Common Over US Ships in Gulf



‘The Normal Welcome’: Iranian Spy Drones Now Common Over US Ships in Gulf

Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles flying above US Navy warships in the Persian Gulf acquire become a routine sight, forcing additional changes to operations in the region, US Navy and Marine commanders said this week.

“The small boats and the UAVs are definitely out there tracking us,” US Navy Capt. Jack Killman said Tuesday.

According to US Naval Institute News, service officials said this week that robust Iranian drone spy has become allotment of the “normal welcome” to US Navy and Marine formations reaching the region. US Navy ship commanders respond by closely monitoring air traffic and maintaining layered defenses, said Killman.

Speaking about a deployment to the gulf in June, Killman explained that “we did proceed to the Persian Gulf. We got the normal welcome from the Iranians: UAV overflights, precisely as we trained for. No surprises there.” Still, USNI News noted that the Iranian presence has “added a novel wrinkle to operations.”

Killman spoke Tuesday at the NDIA Expeditionary Warfare convention, USNI News reported.

Killman’s craft, the USS Iwo Jima, was accompanied by a pair of Arleigh Burke-class ships when it entered the gulf in June. The guided-missile destroyers’ sensors detect UAV and small boat traffic well, and their weapons systems provide layered support, he said. The difficulty has been in tracking smaller drones and figuring out if they are armed, according to the commander.

Killman said that the USS Iwo Jima has the “capability” to defend itself against drones and patrol boats, but is facing “a capacity issue.” A shortage of deployed support ships operating in the vicinity of the Iwo Jima can obtain drone defense a more daunting task, the captain noted.

Relatedly, Sputnik News recently reported that mounting maintenance backlogs and wear-and-tear from the 17-year War on Terror caused American aircraft carrier deployments to reach a 25-year low.

In August, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy tapped Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri as its newest commander.

“In the Persian Gulf, the IRGC Navy and in the Sea of Oman, the naval forces of the Army are prepared to defend the waters with their intelligence dominance and monitoring of the enemy’s physical presence. The enemy is using the ploy of [alleged Iranian threats] to acquire a presence in the region and sell arms. Their presence in the region is detrimental to security and does not bring about any security,” Tangsiri said last month.

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US Astronaut Hague ‘Amazed’ by Russian Rescue Team’s Work After Soyuz Failure



US Astronaut Hague 'Amazed' by Russian Rescue Team’s Work After Soyuz Failure

NASA astronaut Nick Hague told NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine that he was impressed by the teamwork of the rescue crew that helped him and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin to net out of the rescue capsule after their recent emergency return to soil over launch vehicle failure.

“They had three pararescue jumpers. As soon as they had found where we were at… they jumped in to net to us as quick as they could… In a handful of minutes, somebody was tapping on the window next to me, giving me the OK symbol, and I was answering back with a mammoth smile, and then they had the hatch open,” Hague said on Wednesday, as broadcast by NASA.

The astronaut added that he was “amazed” at the quick response of the rescue crew.

“You know, they practice this all the time, but they haven’t had to set it to utilize in 35 years… To respond the way they did is a genuine testament to how seriously they catch their responsibilities, and their job,” Hague noted.

He praised the professionalism of the Russian team engaged in spaceflight preparations and conduct.

“I was not surprised by their support and how well they worked. It’s on display every day over there, and it’s a privilege to be section of it,” he stressed.

Hague said that he was feeling “mighty,” and his physical condition was “awesome,” as he had 10 miles (1.6 kilometers) race with his wife on Wednesday morning.

Earlier, Russian State Space Corporation Roscosmos said that Ovchinin and Hague would waft to the ISS in spring 2019, while the exact date would be specified later.

On October 11, the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle failed to launch the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft, with Hague and Ovchinin on board, toward the International Space Station (ISS) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Just minutes after the liftoff, the mission was aborted due to the booster’s malfunction. The two-man crew escaped in a rescue capsule and returned back unharmed. Immediately afterward, an investigation into the incident was launched in Russia.

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