Air Force F-22 Raptors intercept Russian bombers near US airspace in Alaska

An F- 22 Raptor takes flight as part of Polar Force 19-4 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, April 2, 2019. Polar Force is a two-week exercise designed to test JBER’s mission readiness, and develops the skills service members require to face adverse situations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Valdes Montijo)

Air Force F-22 Raptors intercepted a pair of Russian bombers and their fighter escorts this week near Alaska, according to North American Aerospace Defense Command.

The Tu-95 “Bear” bombers and a pair of Su-35 “Flanker” fighters — advanced aircraft that entered the Russian arsenal in 2014 — were discovered in international airspace west of Alaska at about 10 p.m. Tuesday, NORAD said in a statement Wednesday.

North American Aerospace Defense Command “positively identified and intercepted a total of four Tupolev Tu-95 bombers and two Su-35 fighters entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on May 20,” NORAD said in a statement.

“NORAD employs a layered defense network of radars, satellites, as well as fighters to identify aircraft and determine the appropriate response,” he added.

The Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed the incident in a tweet Tuesday, saying the Tu-95 bombers “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,” the ministry added.

Similar incidents involving the same aircraft occurred in May and September of last year.

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