NORAD Intercepts Two Russian Tu-95 “Bear” Long-Range Bomber Aircraft Near Alaska

An F-15 Eagle from the 12th Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, flies next to a Russian Tu-95 Bear Bomber Sept. 28 during a Russian exercise near the west coast of Alaska. Photo by USAF.

On Thursday The Washington Free Beacon reported that on September 1 “Two Russian nuclear-capable bombers were intercepted by American F-22 jets near Alaska on Saturday, the North American Aerospace Defense Command disclosed.”

Spokesman for NORAD Michael Kucharek told the Free Beacon “the bombers were detected flying near the Aleutian Islands” and that “two Alaskan-based NORAD F-22 fighters intercepted and visually identified two Tu-95 ‘Bear’ long-range bomber aircraft flying in the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone, south of the Aleutian Islands,” adding that while the Russian aircraft were intercepted and monitored until they left the Aleutian Island area, heading west, and that “at no time did the Russian bombers enter Canadian or United States sovereign airspace.”

Aleutian Islands are a chain of volcanic islands owned both by the state of Alaska and the “Russian federal subject of Kamchatka Krai.”

This is a statement NORAD officially released Friday morning.

September 7, 2018

Speaking with an unnamed defense official, the Free Beacon reported, the Russian bombers were accompanied by “at least one II-78 Midas refueling tanker jet” indicating long distance traveling.

“The bombers are capable of carrying the nuclear-tipped KH-55 long-range cruise missile that has a maximum range of up to 1,841 miles.”

No other details were given, such as how long or what distance the US escorted the Russian aircraft, though it is believed to be a part of Russian military war games they have been preparing for to begin in full September 11, the Free Beacon said, which will include “300,00 troops, more than 1,000 planes, helicopters and drones, up to 80 combat and logistic ships and up to 36,000 tanks, armored personnel carriers and other vehicles” and “a contingent of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army of up to 3,500 officers and men,” according to Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, they said.

This is the second time this year Russians have come this close to Alaska. The last time, in May, the AirForce Times reported, describes an almost identical incident at that time.

“Two U.S. Air Force F-22 “Raptor” fighter jets intercepted and visually identified what North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, said were two Russian Tu-95 “Bear” long-range bombers off Alaska’s Aleutian Islands,” adding that the Russian air craft did not enter U.S. airspace and that it was a “perfectly legal” and “perfectly normal” maneuver to occur within the air defense identification zone (ADIZ) which includes airspace over both land and water, and can include international space as well.

The last time the Russians conducted this type of maneuver was in April 2017 according to a New York Times report; and in November 2017 the NavyTimes reported, “Russian jet buzzes Navy aircraft, causing ‘violent turbulence’.”

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