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US officer says Soviet jets in Vietnam pose key threat

The stationing of Soviet assault aircraft in Vietnam gives Moscow the ability to attack two US military bases in the Philippines and major Southeast Asian cities, a US officer said Tuesday. The officer, who declined to be identified, said Soviet TU-16 Badger bombers have ranges of 1,000 miles and could carry cruise missiles capable of release 100 miles from targets. The planes could also carry nuclear bombs, he said.

The Badgers, based in southern Vietnam's Cam Ranh Bay since mid-November, are within striking distance of Southeast Asian cities and the US Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Base on the northern Philippine island of Luzon, he said.

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