Air missions — March update
Continuing with the series of intelligence-gathering and support aircraft missions around the periphery of Russian borders, mostly in the Baltic and Black Seas regions, but also the Barents as well. Below is a comparison between flights statistics collected for February and March 2021.
Certainly, an increase is noticeable in the number and types of aircraft flown in March compared to February. Additionally, there are USAF bomber flights to consider, (B1-B forward deployed from Norway, with flights in the Baltic do have a bearing on intel-gathering missions).
Additionally, the arrival of 2 new Russian Project 636.3 submarines to Baltiysk, in preparation for their transit to the Pacific Fleet, has attracted a medley of flights (including from German Navy's P-3C Orion ). The "Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky" & "Volkhov", will set sail in May for their Pacific Ocean Fleet homeport, transit through the Mediterranean & transit Suez Canal.
Likewise, the reports of possible testing of the Zircon missile by the frigate 'Admiral Gorshkov', was accompanied by flights by Rivet Joints in the Barents Sea region, off Murmansk. If you want to have a laugh (or roll eyes), then you are welcome to read this tabloid daftly written account of the missile and the reported tests: https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/world-news/brit-spy-plane-spots-vladimir-23799550
Two US Navy warships went into the Black Sea in late March as part of the "Sea Shield 2021" exercise. Both have now left. (See naval Sitreps article on this blog for further information). This also meant supporting air missions that operated in the Black Sea region.
Infographics for May 2020 with flights of USAF bombers: