Two US fighter aircraft halted two Russian bombers flying in an international airspace yesterday, off the coast of Alaska in the northwest of the American continent.
The two TU-95 “Bear” Russian bombers were flying into the Air Defense Identification Zone, about 322 km off the Alaskan West Coast, at about 10 am (local time), according to a statement made on CNN by a representative of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NAADC), Andrew Hennessy, of the Canadian military.
“At approximately 10 a.m. ET, two Alaskan-based NORAD F-22 fighters intercepted and visually identified two Russian TU-95 ‘Bear’ long-range bomber aircraft flying in the Air Defense Identification Zone around the western coast of Alaska, north of the Aleutian Islands,” NORAD and USNORTHCOM spokesman Canadian Army Maj. Andrew Hennessy said in a statement.
Two US (NORAD) F-22 fighters, stationed in Alaska, kept a visual and recognized the Russian bombers until they left the recognition zone.
The Russian aircraft were “intercepted and monitored by the F-22s until the bombers left the ADIZ along the Aleutian Island chain heading west,” according to the statement.
Russian aircraft did not enter US airspace, according to CNN, which cited the statement.
Russian bombers, a TU-95 and a TU-142, remained under escort by two F-22 fighters in international airspace for 40 minutes, the Russian news agency RIA reported, citing the Russian Defense Ministry.
US fighters maintained a safe distance of 100 meters from the Russian bombers, according to the Russian armed forces.
This also occurred last May when two Russian bombers, flanked by a pair of fighter jets, were intercepted by stealth US F-22 aircraft off the coast of Alaska.
“We haven’t seen this sort of level of activity for a couple of years,” NORAD spokesperson John Cornelio said at the time, though he emphasized it was not “unprecedented” or “unusual.”
It must be noted that the US also frequently flies near the coasts of China and Russia.