In April, over several days, multiple Russian bombers and spy planes were seen flying close to the Alaska coast. At least one instance saw U.S. and Canadian jets sent to perform an intercept. In May, U.S. jets performed yet another intercept after Russian bombers and fighters flew about 50 miles from the Alaskan coast while remaining in international air space.
The Russian aircraft were intercepted by two U.S. F-22 stealth fighter jets that were already on patrol. The intercept lasted for several hours.
According to a U.S. official, this marked the first time that the Russian bombers were escorted by fighter planes during one of these flights, though the flights are still considered routine and not of concern, despite the intercept. The uptick of TU-95 Bear bombers and now SU-35 fighter jets are most likely engaged in training exercises.
Speaking about the Russian aircraft last month, NORAD spokesperson John Cornelio stressed that the flights weren’t unprecedented, but the amount of activity hadn’t occurred for several years.
The activity by both countries’ air forces came a day after “a very good” phone call between President Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. The two did not discuss the previous intercepts off the Alaskan coast.