The US military scrambled five planes Monday to intercept two groups of Russian planes that flew in opposite directions off the coast of Alaska, but never entered US sovereign airspace, officials said on Tuesday. North American aerospace defense command (NORAD).
First, NORAD sent two Alaskan-based Raptor F-22 stealth fighters to intercept a group of Russian planes – two strategic Tu-95 bombers known from NATO as "Bears" – the spokesman said of the NORAD Cap. Cameron Hillier of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).
Two other Raptors were intercepted to intercept and accompany another group of two Russian Bears and two Su-35 fighter planes flying in the opposite direction, said Hillier.
The US Army has also sent an AWACS alarm and air control system (E-3 Sentry) to monitor the situation, said Hillier.
The interaction between Russian and US crews has been "safe and professional" and Russian aircraft have always remained in international airspace, said Hillier.
The Russian aircraft did not enter the Canadian Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the Arctic and no Canadian fighter jet was involved in the interception, he added.
According to international law, the sovereign airspace of a country extends 22 kilometers from its coasts. The ADIZ off the coast of Alaska stretches over 300 kilometers from the shore.
During the Cold War, such interceptions on the Arctic were regular events. However, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia, short of money, drastically reduced its strategic air patrols.
In recent years, with rising tensions between Russia and the West in other areas of the world, Moscow has increased the number of patrols of its bears, which have been modernized and equipped to carry long-range cruise missiles with nuclear missiles.