U.S. fighter jets intercept Russian aircraft west of Alaska
The North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) had to scramble two U.S. fighter jets to intercept two Russian strategic bombers in international airspace west of Alaska, NORAD officials said Wednesday.
Two NORAD F-22 “Raptor” fighter jets positively identified and intercepted two Russian Tu-95 “Bear” bombers at approximately 10 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, NORAD officials said.
The Russian bombers were accompanied by two Russian Su-35 “Flanker” fighter jets.
The Russian aircraft were intercepted after they entered the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), which extends nearly 200 nautical miles (370 km) beyond the 12-mile (22 km) U.S. sovereign airspace said NORAD spokesman Maj. Andrew Hennessy.
An air identification zone is airspace over land or water where the identification, location and control of aircraft is performed in the interest of national security.
‘Professional and safe’ interaction
The Russian aircraft remained in international airspace and at no time did the aircraft enter U.S. or Canadian sovereign airspace, he said.
“All of the interaction between Russian and NORAD aircraft was professional and safe,” Hennessy said.
The Russian Ministry of Defence said in a press release that the flight of the two Tu-95MS strategic missile carriers of the long-range aviation of the Russian Air Force “completed scheduled flights over the neutral waters of the Barents, Chukchi, East Siberian seas and the Arctic Ocean during the Vostok 2018 maneuvers.”
The crews of the Tu-95MS aircraft also successfully practiced the air-to-air refuelling, the press release said.
It’s the second time this month that Russian aircraft have been intercepted in the Air Defence Identification Zone, according to NORAD.
On Sept. 1, two F-22 fighters intercepted Russian bombers flying in the ADIZ south of the Aleutian Islands, NORAD officials said.
Two Russian TU-95 bombers and a TU-142 maritime aircraft were also intercepted by two NORAD F-22s near the western coast of Alaska in international airspace on May 11.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Canada extends air defence monitoring zone to entire Canadian Arctic, Radio Canada International
Finland: Finland, Sweden and US building three-way defence ties, Yle News
Norway: Adding U.S. Marines in Norway creates instability, says Russia, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: Russia flexes its military muscles with Arctic component of Vostok 2018 war games, Radio Canada International
Sweden: Sweden to buy U.S.-made Patriot air defence systems, Radio Sweden
United States: Top U.S. military officials visit Alaska bases, Alaska Public Media