on Aug. 8, 2019, a pair of USAF F-22 Raptors, two Canadian Forces CF-18s, a USAF E-3 Sentry AWACS supported by a USAF KC-135 Stratotanker and C-130 tanker under NORAD control intercepted two Russian Tu-95 Bear H bombers over the arctic Beaufort Sea’s international air space.
The intercept happened early Thursday north of the Alaskan and Canadian coasts.
The Control System from North American Aerospace Defense Command positively identified and intercepted a group of two Russian Tu -95 Bear bombers flying off the coast of Alaska on Thursday.
The U.S. Air Force was forced to scramble F-22 stealth fighters to intercept the Russian aircraft in coordination with two Canadian CF-18 fighter aircraft.
The F-22s involved in the intercept wore the “AK” tail code of the 477th Fighter Group at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, the very first Air Force Reserve Command F-22 Raptor unit. The likely squadron involved in the intercept was the 302nd Fighter Squadron.
The encounter produced some dramatic photos from crews, likely on both sides. These exciting photos from U.S. and Canadian flight crews were shared on social media only hours after the successful intercept. It’s likely we’ll begin seeing photos taken from the Russian Bear Hs in a few more hours.
The Russian bombers remained in international airspace and at no time did the aircraft enter the United States or Canadian sovereign airspace.
NORAD employs a layered defense network of radars, satellites, and fighter aircraft to identify aircraft and determine the appropriate response. The identification and monitoring of aircraft entering a U.S. or Canadian ADIZ demonstrates how NORAD executes its aerospace warning and aerospace control missions for the United States and Canada.
The ADIZ, or “Air Defense Identification Zone”, where the intercept occurred is international airspace that extends 200 miles from the U.S./Canadian coastline and is monitored in the interest of national security. U.S. territorial airspace begins only 12 miles from the coastline. Russian aircraft stayed well clear of the 12-mile U.S. air space limit during the encounter between the three countries.
A week ago, radar surveillance showed that two Russian aircraft had also entered the ADIZ off Alaska and Canada, but these aircraft were not intercepted by U.S. or Canadian forces. The last encounter between U.S./Canadian aircraft and Russian aircraft in the region happened back in May, when Russian aircraft entered the ADIZ over two consecutive days.
Photo Credits: NORAD via Facebook