Pentagon Protests after Intercept of Russian Bombers

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The Pentagon has protested after US fighter jets intercepted two Russian bombers west of Alaska, in the latest incident of its kind.

F-22 Raptor fighters from NORAD intercepted and visually identified the long-range Tupolev Tu-95 "Bear" bombers overnight Tuesday, said the joint US-Canadian command, charged with aerospace warning and control for North America.

The four-engine Cold War-era turboprop bombers, which can carry nuclear weapons, were escorted by two Russian Su-35 fighters, NORAD said in a statement Thursday, adding that the Russian planes stayed in international airspace and never penetrated the US or Canadian zones.

NORAD jets followed the Russians until they left the air defense identification zone, a perimeter in which the military surveils air traffic, and which extends for about 200 miles (320 kilometers) off Alaska.

The incident took place during Russia's largest-ever military drills, Vostok-2018 with nearly 300,000 troops and all types of military equipment in eastern Siberia.

NORAD commander General Terrence O'Shaughnessy said he did not see the air incident as "directly part of Vostok although it is very much related to it."

In May, US fighter jets also intercepted two Russian Bear bombers in international airspace off western Alaska.

In April 2017, NORAD and the Pentagon said Tu-95 bombers were spotted in international airspace on three occasions -- twice near the Aleutians and once near mainland Alaska and Canada.

That was the first sighting of such Russian long-range bombers around Alaska in about two and a half years, a Pentagon spokesman said at the time.

Tensions between Russia and the United States and its NATO allies are running at levels not seen since the Cold War.

Comments 4
Thumb sevilla 14 September 2018, 08:49

lol @'The four-engine Cold War-era turboprop bombers'

Thumb s.o.s 14 September 2018, 11:10

Alaska once was property of the czar, Russia sold it to the USA just like the French King sold Louisiana, yet we don't see French air force flying around, or Spain for that matter. perhaps because these former colonial powers have become irrelevant in the international political and military arenas.

Thumb whyaskwhy 14 September 2018, 19:19

did we not hear one of the teenager Kizballah supporters make claim that Russia offered Lebanon aviation support? I think he meant Kerosene for the old prop Russian planes. The Tuppelov TU 95 a plane first flown in 1952 is still being used by Russians simply because its cheap to run. The technology in it is supported by a plane that is over 66 years old! Yes Russia should continue to aid the Arab nations after all they have been doing it since Abdel Nassers days and look at the hundreds of victories we have had since then loooool

Thumb s.o.s 14 September 2018, 23:11

texy, old prop planes are much more kerosene efficient than jets. I believe we'll see many airlines shifting back to 'old tech' as it saves them money, fewer carbon emissions ... the only disadvantage being the speed.

The same applies to horses... Gosh I'd love to ride in a stagecoach. zero carbon emissions and the engine is edible (and healthy)!