U.S. F-22 Raptors intercepted four Russian bombers and a pair of Su-35 Flanker-E fighter aircraft off the coast of Alaska on Monday, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD.
A Russian Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bomber and missile carrier (L) is seen being accompanied by a U.S. F-22 fighter jet in worldwide airspace off the coast of Alaska, May 21.
In a later statement, NORAD said its "ability to deter and defeat threats" begins with "detecting, tracking, and positively identifying" non-American aircraft in USA airspace.
Russian military aircraft that cross through the ADIZ on a training mission are typically allowed to continue on once identified, as long as they do not attempt to enter USA airspace. Following that intercept, two more F-22s intercepted a second group of two Russian bombers flanked by two of the Sukhoi-made fighters.
"At certain stages of the route, Russian aircraft were escorted by F22 fighter jets of the USAF".
"Patrols by Russian military aircraft off the coasts of the United States and Canada have grown increasingly complex in recent years", O'Shaughnessy said in written testimony submitted to Congress earlier this month.
In response, NORAD reported that "the Russian bombers and fighters remained in worldwide airspace and at no time did the aircraft enter United States or Canadian sovereign airspace". "Our ability to protect our nations starts with successfully detecting, tracking, and positively identifying aircraft of interest approaching US and Canadian airspace", O'Shaughnessy said. All civilian craft entering the zone must identify themselves.
The Tu-95MS strategic bombers spent over 12 hours in the air, the ministry said. "Long-range pilots make regular flights over neutral waters of the Arctic, North Atlantic, Black and Caspian seas, and Pacific Ocean".
Russia's defense ministry said that the flights are performed in strict compliance with the worldwide rules of using the airspace, without violating the borders of other states.