The U.S. Air Force monitored the Russians until they left the identification zone.
The U.S. Air Force intercepted six Russian warplanes in international airspace west of the state of Alaska and escorted them until the Russians left the area adjacent to the US airspace. This was reported on Tuesday in the Joint Air Defense Command of the North American continent (NORAD).
Russian warplanes were divided into two groups. One of them consisted of two strategic bombers Tu-95, which were intercepted by two American F-22 fighters, in the second group were two Tu-95 and two fighters Su-35. Two American F-22 were also involved in the interception operation.
The inspection aircraft of AWACS (long-range radar detection and warning system) followed the operation, the NORAD said in a statement. The military reported that Russian aircraft were in international airspace all the time.
The escort operation started after the Russians warplanes found themselves in the Alaska Air Defense Identification zone. This perimeter line is located outside the national airspace, but there is constant surveillance of all foreign aircraft inside it. This is done to reduce the response time in the event of a security risk.
“Our ability to deter and destroy threats to the lives of our citizens and strategically important infrastructure begins with the detection, tracing and identification of aircraft in our airspace,” said General Terrence O’shonessy, Commander of the NORAD. According to him, the American air Defense Forces “are in a state of readiness 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year”.
There are four zones of air defense identification near the US borders. The Alaska area stretches about 320 miles from the state coast.