Competition between US and Russian air forces keeps pace despite global pandemic
WASHINGTON — On Tuesday night, U.S. Air Force F-22 jets scrambled to intercept two separate formations of Russian aircraft that included Tu-95 bombers, Su-35 fighter jets, and an A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft, according to North American Aerospace Defense Command.
The encounter, which occurred in international airspace about 32 nautical miles from Alaska, came less than a week after a very similar encounter. F-22s from the North American Aerospace Defense Command intercepted a group of Russian bombers getting a little too close to Alaska for comfort. Though the two pairs of Tu-95 “Bear” bombers, and accompanying Russian aircraft, did not enter American airspace during the June 10 encounter, they entered the Alaskan air defense identification zone, NORAD said.
Russia released video showing what the encounter looked like from their pilots’ point of view.
On Monday the Russian Defence Ministry also posted a video of its Su-27 fighters intercepting an American B-52 bomber over the Baltic Sea during the annual Baltic Operations maritime exercise.
All three intercepts were routine, legal and safe. But those operations — and others like them that have occurred periodically over the past three months — are being used by the U.S. and Russian air forces to signal to each other that they remain ready to respond to threats and defend their airspace.