Fighter jets from the United States Air Force have reportedly intercepted a pair of Russian bombers off the coast of Alaska.
The twin F-22 “Raptor” jets successfully detected, tracked, and intercepted the pair of Russian TU-95 “Bear” bombers off the west coast of Alaska.
The bombers were prevented from entering U.S. and Canadian airspace, according to a report from the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 13, 2018
“The homeland is no longer a sanctuary and the ability to deter and defeat threats to our citizens, vital infrastructure, and national institutions starts with successfully detecting, tracking, and positively identifying aircraft of interest approaching U.S. and Canadian airspace,” said NORAD Commander General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, as UPI reports.
NBC News reports two other Russian jets were also stopped during the incident:
Two Russian Tu-95 “Bear” bombers and two Su-35 “Flanker” fighter jets entered what is known as the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone on Tuesday, NORAD said in a statement Wednesday.
NORAD did not say how close to American airspace the Russian aircraft flew nor in which direction. It said the intercept happened at 10 p.m. ET. Russian state media said the American jets escorted its aircraft for around 40 minutes and never came closer than 100 meters, according to Reuters.
This air defense zone — known as an ADIZ — was declared unilaterally by the U.S. after World War II and is not binding under any international treaty. It extends more than 200 miles further from Alaska’s westernmost island and 1,700 miles from Anchorage.
This is not the first time Russian bombers have been caught off the coast of Alaska as two other aircraft were detected earlier this month and back in the month of May.
From Fox News:
It’s the second time this month a pair of Russian bombers flew near Alaska. On Sept. 1, the bombers were intercepted by F-22 fighters after crossing into the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone south of the Aleutian Islands.
In May, two defense officials told Fox News that two similar bombers came within 55 miles of the state’s west coast. The Russian planes did not enter sovereign U.S. airspace on either of the previous two occasions.
According to the report, the Russian military have recently geared up their military capabilities and have recently conducted one of its largest military training exercises alongside Chinese and Mongolian forces:
The Russian military recently launched its largest military drill since 1981. According to the country’s defense ministry, the Vostok — or “East” — exercise involves some 300,000 troops and over 1,000 aircraft.
US F-22 fighter jets intercepted Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers off the coast of mainland Alaska on 9/11. The Tu-95s were accompanied by 2 Russian Su-35 jets. The incident took place in international airspace but within the US Air Defense Identification Zone. 2nd intercept this month https://t.co/Dnd353FTmN
— Ryan Browne (@rabrowne75) September 12, 2018
For the second time this month the US intercepted Russian bombers 200 hundred miles off the coast of Alaska. This time The Russian bombers were accompanied by Russian fighter jets. https://t.co/6p7s2bKNsO
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) September 13, 2018