Two U.S. Air Force F-22 "Raptor" fighter jets intercepted two Russian bombers near Alaska on Tuesday. It was the second time in less than two weeks.
The aircraft did not enter U.S. or Canadian airspace, the North American Aerospace Defense Command said on Wednesday in a news release. It's not clear how close the aircraft flew to the west coast of Alaska.
"Two Alaskan-based NORAD F-22 fighters intercepted and visually identified two Tu-95 ‘Bear' long-range bomber aircraft flying in the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone, south of the Aleutian Islands," NORAD spokesman Michael Kucharek told The Washington Free Beacon.
The Russian TU-95 bombers are capable of carrying nuclear-tipped KH-55 long-range cruise missiles. The missiles have a maximum range of up to 1,841 miles, according to The Free Beacon.
The pair of bombers was accompanied by two Russian SU-35 "Flanker" fighter jets and refueling tankers. The aircraft originated from a base in Russia Far East, the Russian Defense Ministry reported.
The intercept occurred about around 10 p.m. ET Tuesday. No other details of the intercept were disclosed.
Dos portacohetes estratégicos Tu-95MS de las Fuerzas Aeroespaciales en el marco de las maniobras #Vostok2018 realiz… https://t.co/bSJPUN9Sql— Минобороны России (@Минобороны России)1536762118.0
"The homeland is no longer a sanctuary and the ability to deter and defeat threats to our citizens, vital infrastructure, and national institutions starts with successfully detecting, tracking and positively identifying aircraft of interest approaching U.S. and Canadian airspace," Gen. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, NORAD commander, said in a release.
Russia is currently involved in the largest war games in 37 years, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
"The Vostok-2018 international drills are being held under the leadership of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in the Russian Far East and the adjacent waters of the Pacific Ocean on September 11-15," the Russian Defense Ministry wrote.
The games involve nearly 300,000 servicemen, tens of thousands of armored vehicles, helicopters, aircraft, and drones. Chinese and Mongolian troops are also participating in the large-scale maneuvers.
Earlier this month, NORAD identified and intercepted another pair of Russian TU-95 "Bear" fighters flying near Alaska. The incident occurred at about noon on Sept. 1.