The Russians are Coming, Almost

US and Russian officials continue to hash out the details of a B-52/Tu-95 bomber exchange, Air Force Global Strike Command spokeswoman Capt. Karen Mock told the Daily Report. “Further discussions are presently underway to solidify the details for the execution of exchange visits of bombers, crews, and support personnel,” said Mock on Jan. 11. AFGSC announced the US-Russia “long-range aviation bomber exchange program” last August after a command-led delegation returned from a site survey of Engels Air Base in Saratov, Russia, to determine if Engels was suitable to support B-52H operations. The July 21-28, 2012, visit came after a Russian group toured Barksdale AFB, La., from July 11-12, 2012, to gauge its ability to host the Tu-95. Mock said the “site surveys at both locations were found to be satisfactory.” The Russians proposed the bomber exchange during annual US-Russia security-cooperation discussions, she said.