Air Force intercepts Russian bombers, fighter escorts near Alaska

Clay Curtis
September 15, 2018

The US military said on September 11 two Russian Tupolev Tu-95 nuclear-capable bombers flew close to the west coast of Alaska. The last interception came on September 1 near the Aleutian Islands.

On Tuesday at 6 p.m. Alaska time, two Russian Tu-95 "Bear" bombers were intercepted by two NORAD F-22 "Raptor" fighter jets, a release said.

Officials said the "at no time did the aircraft enter the United States or Canadian sovereign airspace".

During the September 1 bomber incursion, the Tu-95s were not shadowed by Russian jets.

They did not fly into US or Canadian airspace. However, defense officials said the bombers in that flight were supported by aerial refueling tankers.

On May 11, US jets shadowed a pair of Tu-95s as they flew in the zone, which extends 200 miles from the coast, in the Bering Sea north of the Aleutians.

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The Navy's major ballistic missile submarine base is located at Bangor, Washington. The F-22 was accompanied by Russian planes, until then, until they left the air defence identification zone.

The aircraft were "intercepted and monitored" by the US jets until they left the zone, heading west.

Terrance O'Shaughnessy says radar, satellites and fighter jets are used to identify aircraft and determine appropriate responses.

Russian bombers in the past have conducted mock missile attacks against USA missile defenses in Alaska. However, during that earlier intercept, the Russian Tu-95s were not escorted by Russian fighter jets.

American fighter jets intercepted four Russian military aircraft while they were flying in worldwide airspace west of Alaska earlier this week, officials said. According to the country's defense ministry, the Vostok - or "East" - exercise involves some 300,000 troops and over 1,000 aircraft.

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