A pair of Russian strategic bombers conducted flights near the Aleutian Islands last week, causing the Air Force to scramble F-22 fighters.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, which first reported on the incident, two H-model Bear bombers were intercepted as they entered the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone, an area of radar-monitored space extending 200 miles from Alaska’s coast.
The bombers turned around before entering American airspace, which stretches 12 nautical miles offshore, as defined by international treaty.
Lt. Cmdr. Bill Lewis, a spokesman for the U.S. Northern Command, told the Washington Free Beacon that the Russian flights were “standard out-of-area flights near Alaska.”
F-22s based at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage came close enough to visually identify the bombers, he said.
Since the closure of the U.S. Navy’s base in Adak, the sole significant military outpost in the Aleutians has been at Shemya, where a large radar station is located.
The radar station is part of the missile defense system based at Fort Greely, near Delta Junction. Russia has been opposed to the missile defense project since its inception.
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