Monday 27 May, 2019

Military plane lands in T&T after Russian ship docks in harbour

The US military has sent aircraft to monitor the presence of a Russian surveillance vessel which was seen docked in the Port of Spain harbour earlier this month.

According to reports from the Daily Star, a US military C-32B special ops plane landed at Piarco International Airport in Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday after the SSV-175 Viktor Leonov, a Russian Vishnya-class intelligence ship, was seen in T&T's waters.

According to FlightWatch, the craft landed in Trinidad on Saturday around 2:30 pm. The aircraft left Golubovci Airbase in Montenegro approximately four days ago.

(Photo: The Boeing C-32B (also known as the 'White Ghost') is associated with the 150th Special Operations Squadron. These are highly secretive units, with little information publicly available about their activities. The aircraft have been spotted in a plain white paint scheme, with minimal markings. They appear to change serial numbers many times - no doubt an attempt to keep a low profile.)

The Boeing 757 planes, operated by the US Air Force Special Operations Command, are typically used to support US government crisis response and CIA special activities.

According to reports the vessel was seen docked on Saturday near the Hyatt Regency Trinidad hotel and was expected to depart on Sunday.

Persons in brown military uniforms could be seen aboard the vessel, while also docked nearby were two vessels belonging to the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard. 

In January, Sputnik News reported that the USS George HW Bush nuclear-powered aircraft carrier was sent to the Virginia coastline after reports of a Russian spy ship surfaced a few days prior.

The SSV-175 Viktor Leonov came within 27 miles of the Virginia coastline, but remained in international waters.

The intelligence ship class Vishnya or Meridian, from the Cold War era, is 300 feet long and is loaded with anti-aircraft missiles. 

The vessel has a crew of around 200 people, and entered the service in the Black Sea in 1988 before being transferred seven years later to the North Fleet, according to Russian media.


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