As I have mentioned before, I keep an eye on military air activity in and around the US, and there has been some unusual activity since the weird goings on from the unexplained ground stop on January 11. It’s been cold and raining, so I can’t get any work done outside. I already fixed the faulty sensor in the dishwasher, so I am sitting here online.
There are Russian ships doing what the Soviets did during the cold war: they are sitting just offshore of our Naval facilities, keeping an eye on things, as well as Russian long range aircraft nearing US Pacific bases. The US is responding by flying more P8 and drone patrols off the coast of Jacksonville and King’s Bay, Hawaii, Norfolk, and Puget Sound. For example, here is a track of two aircraft near Cape Canaveral:
The Blue one is a P8 Poseidon antisubmarine patrolling between 8,000 and 25,000 feet. The yellow is an unidentified military aircraft that has been patrolling at 6,000 to 10,000 feet.
There are similar tracks up and down the east coast. For example, here are another pair of P8s patrolling just to the north of Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point, which is the main ammunition shipping terminal for the east coast.
Here is a P3 Orion (the lime green one) and a P8, both patrolling off the coast of Jacksonville. The orange aircraft is a P8 that appears to be landing in Jacksonville. What is different about the P3, is that it has a magnetic anomaly detector, while the P8 does not. The MAD allows for the localization of large metallic objects, like submarines.
The P3 is being phased out of service, with only two reserve squadrons left that still operate the aircraft.
Also, last night I tracked an E6 Mercury that took off from Andrews and flew a racetrack that extended from Andrews down to Miami. They were on their second lap when I went to bed last night at around 2200. Here is an E6 taking off at noon from Pax River:
The E6 is a command and control aircraft for America’s nuclear submarines. Keep in mind that the US claims that no nuclear control aircraft are on airborne alert. Other than for training, the US has claimed since 1990 that they no longer maintain a continuous airborne alert. That apparently hasn’t been the case for the past two weeks, at least. The one that I have observed on the east coast flies up and down the coast. A west coast E6 has been seen flying out to sea before disappearing over the pacific, or has been seen appearing out of the pacific and flying back. Here it is, leaving California, headed out into the Pacific at 1315:
There was a surveillance drone circling off the Georgia coast at an altitude of over 30,000 feet for more than 12 hours yesterday. The racetrack ran from about the latitude of Jacksonville, FL all the way to the South Carolina border, about 60 miles offshore. The drone both took off an landed in the Jacksonville area.
There are two conclusions to be drawn from this: Either the US military is greatly increasing its training tempo, or its alert status. Either way, this is interesting.