United States fighter jets intercepted Russian bombers for the second time in two days off the Alaskan coast, according to a statement from the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
Four Tupolev Tu-95 bombers and two Su-35 fighters entered the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone on Monday and were intercepted by two pairs of F-22 fighters and an E-3 Airborne Early Warning and Control System, according to NORAD’s press release. Two U.S. F-22’s intercepted two of the Russian bombers and two more F-22’s intercepted the second group of Russian bombers.
The Russian bombers did not leave international aerospace and at no time entered U.S. territory, the press release reveals. (RELATED: 40 Passengers, One Crew Member Killed Aboard Russian Flight)
“NORAD’s top priority is defending Canada and the United States,” said NORAD Commander General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, according to NORAD’s press release.
“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 U.S. and Canadian airspace. NORAD is on alert 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”
The Russian Ministry of Defense said Monday that these demonstrations are merely “scheduled sorties.”
“Four Tu-95ms strategic missile carriers of the Russian Aerospace Forces made scheduled sorties over the neutral waters… At certain stages of the route, Russian aircraft were escorted by F-22 fighter jets of the USAF. The total flight time exceeded 12 hours. Long-range pilots make regular flights over neutral waters of the Arctic, North Atlantic, Black and Caspian seas, and Pacific Ocean,” the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation said Monday.
“All flights of the Russian Air and Space Force are carried out in strict accordance with the International Airspace Management System without violating the borders of other states,” the Russian Ministry of Defense added.
These scheduled sorties began in 2007 and are viewed as attempts to show off Russian military power and prepare for potential clashes, according to The Hill.
NORAD also reveaed in a tweet that these are the fourth and fifth intercepts of the year and that this is the second day in a row that Russia flew into the Alaskan ADIZ.
NORAD has intercepted an avg of approx. six to seven Russian sorties entering its ADIZ since Russia resumed long range aviation patrols in 2007. This is the 4th and 5th intercepts this year and the 2nd day in a row that Russia has flown into the Alaskan ADIZ #WeHaveTheWatch
— North American Aerospace Defense Command (@NORADCommand) May 22, 2019
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