U.S. fighter jets intercepted four Russian nuclear-capable bombers off the coast of Alaska for the second time in a week, the Russian military said Wednesday.
The U.S. scrambled F-22 Raptors to escort the four Tupolev Tu-95MS strategic bombers during their flight near the Bering Strait, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported.
The Tu-95MS bombers had been carrying out a planned 11-hour flight across the neutral waters of the Chukchi, Bering and Okhotsk Seas, as well as the northern Pacific Ocean, RIA Novosti cited the Russian military as saying.
Last week, the U.S. air defense command said its Raptors intercepted a Tu-95 formation within 20 nautical miles (37 kilometers) of Alaska’s coast. The formation consisted of two Tu-95 bombers, two Su-35 fighter jets and an A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on May 29 that two U.S. B-1B bombers had been intercepted by Russian warplanes during a flight over the Black Sea.
The United States maintains an Air Defense Identification Zone off of Alaska which extends beyond national territory to allow for a response to potentially hostile incursions.