Australian Defence Force on heightened alert during Russian military exercise in Indonesia
Exclusive by Defence reporter Andrew Greene
Updated 22 minutes ago
Two TU-95 bombers of the Russian Aerospace Forces sit on the tarmac.
PHOTO: Two nuclear-capable TU-95 bombers flew their first ever patrol mission over the South Pacific. (Supplied: Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation)
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Defence personnel in Darwin were operating at “increased readiness” earlier this month as Russian strategic bombers conducted navigation exercises close to Australia, flying out of an Indonesian military base.
RAAF Base Darwin placed on a “short period” of heightened alert
Russian Ministry of Defence claims it “carried out air alert mission over neutral waters of south Pacific Ocean”
Defence Department would have been concerned about Russian intelligence collection, defence expert says
The ABC can reveal RAAF Base Darwin was placed on a “short period” of heightened alert, while over 100 Russian personnel and several aircraft were stationed at the Biak Airbase in Indonesia’s eastern Papua province.
During the five-day stopover two nuclear-capable Tu-95 bombers flew their first ever patrol mission over the South Pacific, prompting concerns they may have been collecting valuable intelligence.
The Russian Ministry of Defence claims its strategic bombers “carried out air alert mission over neutral waters of south Pacific Ocean” in a flight lasting more than eight hours.
In a statement to the ABC, Australia’s Defence Department said “the ADF maintains appropriate levels of readiness and posture to respond to evolving circumstances,” but did not specifically refer to the Russian activity.
“There were no instances of unalerted or unscheduled foreign aircraft operating in Australian airspace during this period,” the Department added.
Defence also insists RAAF Base Darwin was never in lockdown, but did acknowledge “in early December there was a brief period of increased readiness” at the facility.
Two Russian Ilyushin-76 transporters carrying 81 personnel arrived on Biak island in Indonesian Papua on December 4, and were joined shortly after by a pair of Tu-95 bombers, bringing the total number of deployed troops to 110.
Russian aircraft ‘likely gathering Australian intelligence’
Two Russian Il-76MD aircraft arrive in Indonesia.
PHOTO: Two Russian Ilyushin-76 transporters arrived in Indonesia on December 4. (Supplied: Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation)
One of Australia’s leading defence experts believes the Defence Department would have been concerned about the ability of the long-range Russian aircraft to collect intelligence during their visit to the region.
Executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Peter Jennings said this month’s deployment was a significant step by Moscow.
“For the Russians to send a couple of aircraft this far down south I think is really proving it’s got the capacity for that long-range reach,” he said.
“It doesn’t surprise me in the least that our own military forces raised their alert levels in response.
“I’m sure there would have been concerns about Russian intelligence gathering because they wouldn’t have come this far south without wanting to look at the one significant [United States] allied presence in this part of the world, which operates out of [RAAF Base] Darwin and RAAF Base Tindall a little further south.”
Topics: defence-forces, defence-and-national-security, world-politics, australia, russian-federation, indonesia
First posted about 9 hours ago
auntyutaJanuary 22, 2013 at 2:00 pm Edit #
Near the Queen Victoria Building we found a lovely little place where we could have a bit of lunch. The fish tasted so good, I managed to eat both large pieces! And imagine, the lunch in the center of the city was a special for ten Dollars! Great value indeed.
Three Well BeingsJanuary 22, 2013 at 3:31 pm Edit #
The Queen Victoria Building is really beautiful. And I was just thinking today how quickly we moved on from the busy Christmas and New Year’s activities. It was nice to have a reason to look back and see how you spent your last day of the year! The food looks delicious, too! 🙂
auntyutaJanuary 22, 2013 at 3:58 pm Edit #
Thank you, Debra. 🙂
likeitizJanuary 22, 2013 at 6:43 pm Edit #
You both look great!
auntyutaJanuary 22, 2013 at 6:53 pm Edit #
Thanks, Mary-Anne. It was a good ending of the year.
The EmuJanuary 22, 2013 at 9:11 pm Edit #
What a delightful and beautiful way to spend new years eve, love your tradition.
The pics are great and I must admit the one with the fish in it is more to my liking.
May you both relive your tradition for many more years to come.
Emu aka Ian
auntyutaJanuary 22, 2013 at 10:08 pm Edit #
Hi, Ian, I’m glad you liked my little post. The fish I had for lunch was really great, very fresh tasting the way I like it. Normally I would eat only one piece of fish that big, but it tasted so yummy that I finished off the other piece as well! And I did eat most of the chips and all the salad. As a drink we only had water, which was for free.
The young friendly woman who served us asked us whether we were planning on seeing the fireworks that night. But we said, no, we were going back home to watch it on TV.
After the scorcher we had last Friday we had some cooler weather the past few days. When you go out in 40+ temps it’s like going out into an oven, isn’t it?
Hope you’re keeping well, Love, Uta.
catterelJanuary 22, 2013 at 9:41 pm Edit #
Lovely post Uta – and so pleased for you that you can upload your photos again. I’m very impressed by your starshaped “Berliners” – they look very posh. “Dinner for one” is shown on all the German-speaking TV channels in Europe over and over again on New Year’s Eve – for some Germans, it’s the only English film they know! But surprisingly enough, although the actors were very well known in Britain, hardly anyone in the UK knows that little film. Glad you are carrying on the tradition down under!
auntyutaJanuary 22, 2013 at 9:55 pm Edit #
So pleased, Cat, to be able to share some of my photos again. You probably know that Germans call these “Berliners” Pfannkuchen.
I heard about it that “Dinner for One” for some reason is hardly known in the UK whereas in Germany it is very popular. There’s one channel here in Australia who always have it in their program for New Year’s Eve. Some fans in Australia watch it every year too. 🙂
catterelJanuary 22, 2013 at 9:58 pm Edit #
I guess the ex-pat German-speakers were homesick for it so the TV people do them the favour!
auntyutaJanuary 22, 2013 at 10:19 pm Edit #
We belong to the people who are really hooked on it. Just thinking about it makes me laugh. The Butler asks: Same as every year, Miss Sophie? And she answers: The same as every year! It’s so good the way they’re acting it. But I’m afraid I don’t know the names of the actors. Poor 90 year old Miss Sophie. All her companions are already dead. And the butler has to pretend they’re still alive and have come to the dinner party.