Norad says it identified and intercepted two Russian bombers over the Beaufort Sea on Thursday.
In a news release, the North American Aerospace Defence Command said several aircraft were involved in the operation to identify the two Tupolev Tu-95 Bear H Bombers in the Alaskan and Canadian Air Defence Identification Zones.
Those zones cover Canadian and U.S. airspace and are monitored by Norad in the interest of national security. Any aircraft in those zones without authorization can be seen as a threat. According to international law, a country’s sovereign airspace extends 22 kilometres from its coastlines.
“The Russian aircraft remained in international airspace in the Beaufort Sea and at no time did the aircraft enter United States or Canadian sovereign airspace,” the statement from Norad said.
Two F-22 and two CF-18 fighter aircraft were deployed, as well as a Boeing E-3 Sentry — an early warning and control aircraft — and two other aircraft. Norad uses radars, satellites and fighter aircraft to identify aircraft and “determine the appropriate response.”
“Norad operators identified and intercepted the Russian aircraft flying near our nations,” said U.S. Air Force Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, the Norad commander, in the statement.
In May, the U.S. military sent five aircraft to intercept two groups of Russian warplanes that flew in opposite directions off the coast of Alaska but never entered sovereign U.S. airspace.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Canada’s 2019 budget slim on hard power Arctic commitments, experts say, Radio Canada International
Iceland: Iceland & UK sign agreement to boost security, defence cooperation, Eye on the Arctic
Norway: US, Russian bombers fly missions on same day near Norwegian airspace, The Independent Barents Observer
Russia: Russian navy to hold live-fire exercise in Norwegian Sea, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Sweden wants to rebuild its “total defence” system, Radio Sweden
United States: U.S. must pay attention to growing China-Russia alliance in Arctic: expert, Alaska Public Media