Yesterday we reported that the U.S. Air Force scrambled two F-22 stealth fighters on Monday night to intercept a pair of Russian nuclear-capable bombers which came as close as 100 miles from Alaska's Kodiak Island, Fox reports. This was the first time since President Trump took office that Moscow has sent bombers so close to the U.S. The two Russian Tu-95 “Bear” tactical bombers flew roughly 280 miles southwest of Elmendorf Air Force Base, within the Air Defense Identification Zone of the United States. The U.S. Air Force promptly scrambled two F-22 stealth fighter jets and an E-3 airborne early warning plane to intercept the Russian bombers.
As we further added, there were no provocations or escalations on either side, and according to a Pentagon official, the interception was conducted in a “safe and professional” manner, as the bombers did not violate U.S. airspace or break international norms.
Fast forward 24 hours when as Fox reports, for the second consecutive day Russia flew two long-range bombers off the coast of Alaska on Tuesday, this time coming within 36 miles of the mainland while flying north of the Aleutian Islands, according to two U.S. officials.
The two nuclear-capable Tu-95H bombers were spotted by U.S. military radar at 5 p.m. local time.
However, unlike the previously described incident on Monday night, this time the U.S. Air Force did not scramble any fighter jets. Instead, it launched a single E-3 Sentry early warning aircraft (AWACS) to make sure there were only the two Russian bombers flying near Alaska, and not other aircraft flying underneath the large bombers.
On Monday, the Russian bombers flew within 100 miles of Alaska on Monday night; one day later they cut the distance to the mainland by two-thirds. U.S. territorial waters extend 12 nautical miles from shore.
The Russian bombers took off from an airbase in Petropavlovsk, Russia and returned five hours later to an airbase in Anadyr. Both locations are in eastern Russia, some 1,000 miles away.
We have yet to get an official statement from the Pentago.