Military Aviation

USAF F-22 Raptors intercept Russian Tu-95 bombers escorted by Su-35 fighters off the coast of Alaska

The bombers exited and then re-entered the Alaskan ADIZ accompanied by two Su-35 fighter jets.

On May 21, 2019 two pairs of F-22 fighter jets, each with an E-3 Airborne Early Warning and Control System aircraft, from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) positively identified and intercepted Russian Tu-95 bombers and Su-35 fighter jets entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

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Specifically, two Russian bombers entered the ADIZ and were intercepted by two F-22s while an E-3 provided overall command and control. The bombers exited and then re-entered the Alaskan ADIZ accompanied by two Su-35 fighter jets. NORAD committed an additional two F-22s and E-3 to relieve the initial intercept aircraft. A KC-135 air-to-air refueling aircraft supported both of NORAD’s intercept teams.

The Russian aircraft remained in international airspace and at no time entered United States or Canadian sovereign airspace.

The last such flight was in January 2019 when an E-3C, two F-22s and two Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornets intercepted two Russian Tu-160 Blackjacks entering the Canadian ADIZ.

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NORAD has intercepted an average of approximately six to seven Russian sorties entering its ADIZ since Russia resumed long range aviation patrols in 2007. This is the fourth and fifth intercepts this year and the second day in a row that Russian bombers have flown into the Alaskan ADIZ.

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 US or Canadian ADIZ demonstrates how NORAD executes its aerospace warning and aerospace control missions for the United States and Canada.

Photo credit: NORAD

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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