Two of the US Air Force’s F-22 Raptor stealth tactical fighter aircraft have reportedly intercepted two Russian TU-95 ‘Bear’ bombers in international airspace off the coast of Alaska.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) was quoted by CNN as saying that the two long-range bombers from Russia flew into the Air Defense Identification Zone, which is located approximately 200 miles off the west coast of Alaska.
In a statement, NORAD and United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) spokesman Canadian Army major Andrew Hennessy said: “At approximately 10am (Eastern time), two Alaskan-based NORAD F-22 fighters, intercepted and visually identified two Russian TU-95 ‘Bear’ long-range bomber aircraft flying in the Air Defense Identification Zone around the western coast of Alaska, north of the Aleutian Islands.”
However, the Russian Defense Ministry officials said that the two bombers were escorted by the Lockheed Martin-developed F-22 jets in international airspace for 40 minutes, reported RIA Novosti.
Meanwhile, Hennessy added that the two USAF aircraft intercepted and monitored the Russian bombers until the aircraft left the identification zone, reported Time.
On 3 May last year, the USAF F-22 jets intercepted two Russian TU-95 Bear bombers and SU-35 fighter jet during a similar incident that took place at Point Hope, Alaska.
In December, two US F-33 stealth fighters fired warning flares after identifying Russian Su-25 jets in an agreed deconfliction area in Syrian airspace.