More Russian spy planes, bombers approach Alaskan airspace

Two Tu-95 nuclear-capable Bear bombers and two IL-38 maritime patrol aircraft were spotted off the coast but remained outside of United States airspace on Wednesday and Thursday.

It was the first time in.

Norad spokeswoman Jennifer Stadnyk says the bombers did not violate Canadian or American airspace at any time.

Air Force fighter jets from Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson in Anchorage intercepted two Russian long-range bombers about 100-150 miles from Kodiak Island on April 17. Earlier in the week, USA fighter jets were scrambled when Russian planes came 40 nautical miles from the coast of an Alaskan island. This is the second time in two days Russian bombers flew this close to the US.

The two Russian bombers were accompanied by the USA aircraft for several hours before they turned back 35 miles from the coast.

The Russian Defence Ministry said its aircraft "regularly carries out patrol missions above the neutral waters of the Arctic, the Atlantic, the Black Sea and the Pacific Ocean".

According to a US official, a pair of Russian bombers flew close to Alaska, they came within 35 nautical miles of the coastline. On Wednesday, a Russian IL-38 maritime patrol and anti-submarine plane was spotted in the same area, and was followed by American planes.

American and Canadian fighter planes scrambled to intercept two Russian TU-95 "Bear" bombers Thursday night, marking the fourth consecutive night of Russian probes near the Alaskan coast, US defense officials said Friday.

While such flights are not out of the ordinary, the episode signals a major uptick in the frequency at which Russian aircraft are flying near the U.S.

It said the American jets escorted the Russian bombers for 12 minutes.

The incidents come amid heightened U.S.

"In support of air-to-ground operations, the Sentry can provide direct information needed for interdiction, reconnaissance, airlift and close-air support for friendly ground forces", the Air Force says on its website.

  • Jon Douglas