Sometime after the ’85 overhaul in PSNS when we landed the ABL’s for Tomahawk onboard, we went for a missile shoot up in the Aleutians to shoot one of the red test T-hawks. If I’m remembering correctly, we went to EMCON to sneak up there without anyone seeing us and hid out just off Attu waiting to do the shoot. The weather sort of cleared (sort of…this is the Aleutians, you know), we turned everything back on, rotating and radiating to be noisy as hell, and waited for our Russian friends to take notice. We then took the shot. I guess, from what I heard in the Chief’s mess, the idea was to show our potential opponents that we could sneak in and take a shot under their noses and, if they knew how to use a map, could see that if the shot had tracked 180deg the other way the bird would have hit something on Kamchatka that was near and dear to their hearts without them seeing it coming. There might be some OS’s reading this to tell me if I’m full of crap or not but that’s what I remember.
What is interesting to me about the time period reference was that this is when Mikhail Gorbachev was pushing Glasnost against a lot of resistance from the hard liners in Moscow. His argument was simply that the USSR could no longer maintain the tit-for-tat military buildup in the wake of growing internal problems exacerbated by the expensive Chernobyl disaster cleanup they were still attempting to deal with. I read some pieces out of Europe several years ago that said that Gorbachev had been privately asking the Reagan administration to make some military moves to further underscore his point that the Soviets were losing the Cold War and would be better off seeking peace. This test shot could very well have been to “help” Gorbachev in those efforts.