US F-22 Jets Intercept Russian Bombers for a Second Day in a Row, NORAD Says

May 22, 2019 Updated: June 5, 2019

U.S. F-22 jets intercepted Russian bombers near the coast of Alaska for a second day, according to North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

Russian nuclear-capable bombers flew into the Air Defense Identification Zone, which is about 200 miles off of Alaska’s western coast, said NORAD.

“Two pairs of F-22 fighter jets, each with an E-3 intercepted Tu-95 bombers Su-35 fighter jets entering the Alaskan ADIZ May 21,” NORAD tweeted.

Those bombers were intercepted by two F-22s, exited the air space, and then re-entered the Air Defense Identification Zone along with two Su-35 fighter jets, according to the agency.

As a result, “NORAD committed an additional two F-22s and E-3 to relieve the initial intercept aircraft. A KC-135 refueling aircraft supported both of NORAD’s intercept teams,” it said.

After that, the Russian jets stayed in international airspace and at no time entered U.S. or Canadian airspace, NORAD noted.

The May 21 flyby wasn’t confirmed by the Ministry of Defense.

A day before that, on May 20, NORAD said it intercepted several Tupolev Tu-95 bombers and Su-35 fighters after entering the Alaskan airspace zone.

In a statement, military officials said NORAD’s “ability to deter and defeat threats” begins with “detecting, tracking, and positively identifying” non-American aircraft in U.S. airspace.

“We are on alert 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year,” the statement continued.

The agency also noted that it has experienced a total of five intercepts in the Air Defense Identification Zone in 2019 “and the 2nd day in a row that Russia has flown into the Alaskan” zone.

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the first incident on Twitter on May 20.

The ministry said its Aerospace Forces “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 F-22 fighter jets of the USAF. The total flight time exceeded 12 hours,” the ministry said in a statement. “Long-range pilots make regular flights over neutral waters of the Arctic, North Atlantic, Black and Caspian seas, and Pacific Ocean.”

Photo released by the US Navy, one of two Russian Tupolev 95 Bear long rang bomber aircraft is seen near the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, south of Japan. (AP Photo/US Navy)
Photo released by the US Navy, one of two Russian Tupolev 95 Bear long-range bomber aircraft is seen near the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, south of Japan. (AP Photo/US Navy)

The ministry claimed that the flights were “carried out in strict accordance with the International Airspace Management System without violating the borders of other states.”

Other details about the incident were not provided.

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