Russian Aircraft Intercepted By US Fighters For Violating Alaskan Airspace Restrictions

NORAD detected a Russian warplane flying off the coast of Alaska during a US military exercise and had to deploy fighter jets to intercept it.

An incident unfolded last week as a Russian Tu-95MS strategic bomber was intercepted and escorted away from Alaskan airspace by NORAD fighter jets. The encounter occurred on August 28th, during the U.S. military’s “Northern Edge” training exercise based in Alaska.

According to NORAD officials, radar systems picked up the Russian warplane approaching the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) from the west. Two F-22 Raptor fighters stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson were immediately scrambled to intercept and investigate.

The Raptors approached and identified the aircraft as a Tupolev Tu-95MS – a Russian long-range, nuclear-capable strategic bomber used for maritime patrol missions. NORAD tracks all aircraft approaching North American airspace, and the bombers are regularly seen near Alaska and Canada.

This incident was notable given the timing amid the U.S. military exercise. Northern Edge 2021 involved approximately 15,000 participants from all service branches engaging in large-scale joint training operations. While the Russian bomber remained in international airspace, its presence was deemed a potential threat to the exercise.

After intercepting the Tu-95, the F-22 pilots escorted the bomber southwest out of the ADIZ and away from the exercise airspace. The Russian aircraft did not enter American sovereign territory, and the encounter concluded without further incident.

NORAD officials say this was a routine response to ensure air sovereignty and safety of flight during a critical training event. But it highlights the perpetual vigilance required amid occasional Russian probes near U.S. and Canadian airspace. The strategic importance of Alaska means NORAD must continually stand ready to defend its skies.

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