Four Russian Tupolev Tu-95 bombers and two Su-35 fighters were escorted out of international airspace by F-22 fighter jets.
Authorities reported that a half dozen Russian warplanes were intercepted by US fighter jets off the coast of Alaska on Monday morning and again on Tuesday, making for two consecutive days that the Russians flew too close to US airspace.
In the first incident, the Russian planes were comprised of four Tupolev Tu-95 bombers, one of which was escorted by two Su-35 fighters. They entered the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone and were intercepted by four F-22 fighter jets. Meanwhile, surveillance during the intercepts were provided by an E-3 Sentry. The second one involved two Tu-95 bombers and a pair of Su-35 fighter jets that were escorted out by four F-22s and an Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS).
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In a statement regarding the first incident, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said, “The Russian bombers and fighters remained in international airspace and at no time did the aircraft enter United States or Canadian sovereign airspace.”
“Our ability to deter and defeat threats to our citizens and vital infrastructure starts with detecting, tracking, and positively identifying aircraft our airspace. We are on alert 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” said General O'Shaughnessy, the NORAD Commander on Twitter.
NORAD fighters intercepted Russian bombers+fighters entering Alaskan ADIZ May 20. 2x Tu-95s were intercepted by 2x F-22s; a second group of 2x Tu-95+2x Su-35 was intercepted later by 2 more F-22’s; NORAD E-3 provided overall surveillance. The aircraft remained in int'l airspace pic.twitter.com/VrNuSWFOQm— North American Aerospace Defense Command (@NORADCommand) May 21, 2019
Russia's Ministry of Defense acknowledged the planes from Monday and said that they were there on scheduled training exercises.
The Ministry wrote on Twitter, “Four #Tu95MS strategic missile carriers of the Russian #AerospaceForces made scheduled sorties over the neutral waters of the Chukotka, Bering and Okhotsk seas, as well as along the western coast of Alaska and the northern coast of the Aleutian Islands.
“At certain stages of the route, Russian aircraft were escorted by #F22 fighter jets of the #USAF. The total flight time exceeded 12 hours”