Russia flew bombers off the coast of Alaska twice in two days, forcing the US to scramble stealth fighters in response
- Russian strategic bombers with fighter escorts twice tested US air defenses in two days with flights off the coast of Alaska.
- On Tuesday, Russian Tu-95 long-range bombers entered the Alaskan Air
DefenseIdentification Zone for the second time this week, NORAD said.
- The US was forced to scramble F-22 stealth fighters to intercept the Russian aircraft on both occasions.
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Russian strategic bombers with fighter escorts twice tested US air defenses in two days with flights off the coast of Alaska, forcing the US to scramble F-22 stealth fighters to intercept the Russian aircraft.
Russian Tu-95 long-range bombers entered the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) Tuesday. In response, the US scrambled two US Air Force F-22s supported by E-3 Sentry aircraft to intercept the Russian bombers, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said in a statement.
The Russian Bear bombers exited the ADIZ and then returned accompanied by a pair of Su-35 fighter jets. NORAD sent an additional two F-22s and an E-3 to relieve the initial intercept team and shadow the Russian bombers and their escorts.
The Tu-95 is a large, four-engine, propeller-powered aircraft that has been upgraded to serve as a heavy cruise missile platform capable of delivering conventional and nuclear payloads. The Su-35 is a highly-maneuverable fighter built to bridge the gap between Russia's fourth and fifth-generation fighter programs.
Tuesday's intercept followed a similar situation Monday, when a total of four F-22s intercepted two pairs of Tu-95 bombers in the Alaskan ADIZ. At no point did the Russian aircraft enter sovereign US or Canadian airspace, the US military explained.
"NORAD's top priority is defending Canada and the United States," Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, the commander of NORAD, said in a statement after Monday's intercepts.
"Our 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 US and Canadian airspace."
This week's incidents come just a couple of months after US B-52H Stratofortress heavy, long-range bombers ruffled Russia's feathers during a short-term deployment to Europe.
The Kremlin accused the US of unnecessarily stoking tensions as the aircraft conducted simulated bombing runs and flights near Russia, prompting the Russians to scramble fighters to intercept the big bombers.