On Tuesday (October 18), Russian bombers were intercepted by Air Force warplanes while they were flying in international airspace near Alaska.
The news came after the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) released a statement revealing two Russian Tu-95 Bear-H bombers “entering and operating within the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)” were “detected, tracked, positively identified and intercepted.”
The bombers were intercepted by a pair of F-16 fighter jets.
NORAD’s statement continued, “The recent Russian activity in the North American ADIZ is not seen as a threat nor is the activity seen as provocative.”
An ADIZ is the perimeter beyond the border of national airspace monitored to provide additional time to react to hostile actions.
“NORAD tracks and positively identifies foreign military aircraft that enter the ADIZ,” the statement read, adding, “NORAD routinely monitors foreign aircraft movements and as necessary, escorts them from the ADIZ.”
The presence of Russian bombers, which comes at a time of heightened tension in America-Russia relations, isn’t seen as a threat considering Russia routinely holds nuclear exercises at this time of year. It isn’t known whether the bombers were part of a drill.
The interception of Russian aircraft in the Alaskan ADIZ occurs frequently because the ADIZ borders Russia’s far eastern border.
In September, two Russian maritime patrol aircraft were detected within the Alaskan and Canadian air defense identification zones, according to NORAD.
NORAD can detect these aircraft through “a layered defense network” that includes satellites, ground-based, and airborne radars, in addition to fighter jets.