Russian Navy Conducts Anti-Aircraft Carrier Exercise Off the Coast of Hawaii

After the United States Air Force scrambled F-22A Stealth fighter jets twice off Hawaii in response to increased Russian activity off the shore of the archipelago. Russia’s Ministry of Defense announced its navy was conducting a series of exercises, the largest in the Pacific since the end of the Cold War.

The exercise to sink a virtual aircraft carrier, which included at least 20 Russian warships, submarines, support vessels, and 20 fighter jets, took place 300 miles off the coast of Hawaii according to Russia. However, satellite images from independent sources, not validated by the US military, show the Russian exercise being conducted as close as 35 miles from US shores.

According to the statement released by the Russian Ministry of Defense on the 21st June, the exercise was conducted by the Varyag, the Slava class cruiser and the flagship of the Russian Pacific Fleet, accompanied by the Marshal Shaposhnikov destroyer, and the Aldar Tsydenzhapov, Gromky, and Sovershenniy multi-role corvettes. The fleet practiced “the tasks of destroying an aircraft carrier strike group of a mock enemy.” according to the statement.

Three F-22 Raptor jets took off from the Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam in response to Russian naval activities in the pacific (image courtesy of Hawaii News Now)

Another two detachments were present to play the role of the enemy ships in the simulation, along with an unspecified Russian Navy submarine and two Tupolev Tu-142 Bear long-range anti-submarine bomber planes and escorting Mikoyan MiG-31 interceptors. The aircraft took off from the Yelizovo airbase on the far-east Russian peninsula of Kamchatka. 

On the 14th June, the U.S. Pacific Air Forces scrambled F-22 Raptor stealth jets from the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, and a second time on the 18th, in response to Russian bomber flights. The Russian bombers were not intercepted as they remained outside the U.S. Air Defense Identification Zone. On the 17th, the U.S. Navy revealed to the media that the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier had arrived in Hawaii along with its strike group, without specifying the purpose of its visit.