U.S. intercepts Russian bombers and fighter jets off Alaska coast

Russian nuclear capable long-range bombers flew within 200 miles of Alaska’s coast

North American Aerospace Defense Command [norad.mil] said on Tuesday, May 21 that it intercepted Russian bombers and fighters entering Alaskan air space on Monday, May 20.

The photographs in this post were distributed today by NORAD, and both images are identified as “PETERSON AFB, Colorado – NORAD intercepts Russian bombers and fighters entering Air Defense Identification Zone.”

American F-22 stealth jets intercepted four Russian bombers and two Russian Su-35 fighter jets off the Alaskan coast on Monday, according to the NORAD statement.

The Russian nuclear capable long-range bombers crossed from international air space into the U.S. controlled Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), which extends to about 200 miles off the western coast of Alaska.

From the NORAD announcement, at norad.mil:

Two pairs of F-22s and an E-3 Airborne Early Warning and Control System from 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.

Specifically, two of the Russian bombers were intercepted by two F-22s, and a second group of bombers with Su-35 fighters was intercepted later by two additional F-22s, while the E-3 provided overall surveillance. The Russian bombers and fighters remained in international airspace and at no time did the aircraft enter United States or Canadian sovereign airspace.

“NORAD’s top priority is defending Canada and the United States. 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,” said General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, the NORAD Commander. “NORAD is on alert 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”

NORAD employs a layered defense network of radars, satellites, and fighter aircraft to identify aircraft and determine the appropriate response. The identification and monitoring of aircraft entering a U.S. or Canadian ADIZ demonstrates how NORAD executes its aerospace warning and aerospace control missions for the United States and Canada.

Operation NOBLE EAGLE is the name given to the military response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and applies to all air sovereignty and air defense missions in North America. NORAD is a binational command focused on the defense of both the U.S. and Canada and draws on forces from both countries.

Source: NORAD intercepts Russian bombers and fighters entering Air Defense Identification Zone

And read more from CNN‘s Ryan Browne.