United State and Canadian jet fighter planes intersected two Russian long-range aircraft bombers off the shore of Alaska on Thursday. The North American Aerospace Defense Command said this after releasing clear photos of the encounter.
Two US F-22 stealth planes and two Canadian CF-18 contenders caught the atomic proficient Russian Tu-95 Bear aircraft after they entered Alaskan and Canadian Air Defense Identification Zones, which broaden roughly 200 miles off Alaska’s western coast, NORAD said.
Meanwhile, the statement noted that the Russian bombers jet never entered the United State or Canadian sovereign territory.
This latest intercept comes at a complicated time in US-Russian relations with president Trump who has made it clear that he wants to improve relations with Moscow, but at the same time, the two countries have clashed over a wide range of issues, including Russia’s annexation of Crimea, election interference and the attempted poisoning of an alleged Russian spy in Britain.
It is also just the latest in a string of encounters between US and Russian military assets this year.
Russian bomber flights like the one that took place on Thursday are viewed by US military officials as part of Moscow’s effort to train its military for a potential crisis while simultaneously sending a message of strength to adversaries.
US authorities state Russian planes and flies have flown in the zone a few times each year throughout a previous couple of years and have comparatively been captured by US or Canadian planes working as a component of NORAD.
“NORAD’s top priority is defending Canada and the United States. NORAD operators identified and intercepted the Russian aircraft flying near our nations,” said Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, the NORAD commander. “Whether responding to violators of restricted airspace domestically or identifying and intercepting foreign military aircraft, NORAD is on alert 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”
Thursday’s occurrence comes after NORAD recognized two Russian sea observation hostile to submarine fighting airplane entering a similar zone a week ago.
“The Russian aircraft remained in international airspace west of mainland Alaska and at no time did the aircraft enter sovereign United States airspace,” NORAD said in a statement about that incident.
The latest block including Russian flying machine off the shore of Alaska occurred in May when two US F-22s captured four Russian planes and two Su-35 warrior streams that flew into the Air Defense Identification Zone.
In January, a US E-3 airplane, two F-22 contender planes, and two Canadian CF-18 warrior flies also “positively identified” two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack vital aircraft entering the Canadian Air Defense Identification Zone.
The US also conducts similar flights in international airspace near the Russian coast though at times, has accused Russian pilots of performing unsafe or unprofessional maneuvers during the encounters.
In June, a Russian jet intercepted a US aircraft flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea three times in just under three hours, according to the US 6th Fleet.
The second of the three interactions “was determined to be unsafe” due to the Russian aircraft “conducting a high speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, which put our pilots and crew at risk,” the 6th fleet said in a statement at the time.
The Russian aircraft was armed and passed about 150 feet directly in front of the US plane, according to two US officials.