A pair of Soviet-era armored air defense systems and at least one US Air Force F-16 with a color scheme designed to look like the ones used by the Russian air force have been spotted during a recent US Air Force drill in Alaska.

The Soviet mobile air defense units involved included a 9K35 Strela-10 (NATO reporting name SA-13 Gopher) surface-to-air-missile (SAM) system, along with a 9K33 Osa (SA-8 Gecko) SAM.

Russia is thought to have 480 Strela-10s and 420 Osas of various modifications in its arsenal.

The Russian build armored units were spotted during the ‘Red Flag-Alaska’ drills at the Yukon Training Area outside Eielson Air Force Base, located about 1,000 km east of the US-Russian border.

It’s not clear when or where the US military got its hands on the Soviet-era air defense systems, which remain on duty in Russia’s air defense network in upgraded form.

However, the US has been known to purchase, either clandestinely or in the open, multiple advanced Soviet-made air defense systems from the former Warsaw Pact nations starting in the early 1990’s.

Alaska used to be owned by the Russians, until they sold it to the USA in some 152 years ago. The well known “Alaska Purchase” was the United States’ acquisition of Alaska from the Russian Empire.

The purchase added 586,412 square miles (1,518,800 km2) of new territory to the United States for the cost of $7.2 million.

Alaska was formally transferred to the United States on October 18, 1867, through a treaty ratified by the United States Senate and signed by President Andrew Johnson.

Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2019.

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