F-22 jets scrambled to intercept Russian strategic bombers near Alaska
U.S. F-22 stealth fighter jets have accompanied Russia’s Tu-95MS ‘Bear’ strategic bombers on a patrol mission over the neutral waters near Alaska, the Russian Defense Ministry said April 19.
"On April 17, 2017, two Tu-95MS strategic bombers from the Ukrainka airbase (in the Far Eastern Amur Region) have successfully performed tasks under the air patrol schedule. The route of the flight ran above the neutral waters of the Pacific Ocean, along the Aleutian Islands," the statement reads.
"The aircraft covered about 5,000 kilometers at the speed of up to 850 kmph and at the height of up to 10,000 meters. The flight lasted more than seven hours. The Tu-95MS bombers were being accompanied for 27 minutes by the F-22 fighter jets of the US Air Force," the ministry said.
Russia’s Long-Range Aviation regularly carries out patrol missions above the neutral waters of the Arctic, the Atlantic, the Black Sea and the Pacific Ocean. All such missions are carried out in strict compliance with international regulations and with respect to national borders, the ministry said.
Pentagon spokesman Michelle Baldanza earlier told TASS that two F-22 fifth-generation fighter jets were scrambled on April 18 to intercept the Russian bombers near the coast of Alaska.
Fox News earlier reported, citing unnamed U.S. defense officials that the U.S. Air Force scrambled two F-22 stealth fighter jets and an E-3 airborne early warning plane to intercept the Russian aircraft that flew roughly 280 miles southwest of Elmendorf Air Force Base, within the Air Defense Identification Zone of the United States. According to the TV channel’s information, Russian bombers were last spotted near the U.S. borders on July 4, 2015, off the coasts of Alaska and California, coming as close as 40 miles to Mendocino in California.