NORAD F-16s Intercept Russian Bombers Near Alaskan Airspace

The two intercepted Russian Tu-95 Bear-H bombers remained in international airspace, never straying into U.S. or Canadian airspace, NORAD said.

Two NORAD F-16s intercepted two Russian Tu-95 Bear-H bombers near Alaskan airspace, NORAD said. [Courtesy: US Air Force]

Two Russian Tu-95 Bear-H bombers were intercepted near Alaskan airspace this week, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

During the October 17 incident, the two bombers were "detected, tracked, positively identified and intercepted," as they were "entering and operating within the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)," NORAD said in a statement. 

There was "no indication that there was any unsafe, unprofessional behavior. They did not present a threat," Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

This isn't, however, the first time in recent months that the proximity of Russian aircraft has raised attention.

This week's interception occurred a little more than a month after a similar incident, reported September 11, when two Russian maritime patrol aircraft entered and operated within the ADIZ. Russian aircraft were also detected inside the ADIZ in January and March.

This week's incident, however, was the first time in about two years that NORAD acknowledged that a Russian bomber had been identified in the ADIZ, Air and Space Forces Magazine reported.

In both instances, the Russian aircraft remained in international airspace, and never strayed into U.S. or Canadian sovereign airspace.

"The recent Russian activity in the North American ADIZ is not seen as a threat nor is the activity seen as provocative," NORAD said. "NORAD tracks and positively identifies foreign military aircraft that enter the ADIZ. NORAD routinely monitors foreign aircraft movements and as necessary, escorts them from the ADIZ."

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

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