Russian bombers flew near Alaska for the second time in two days Tuesday evening, a day after a pair of them were intercepted by Anchorage-based fighter jets.
Capt. Anastasia Schmidt, a spokeswoman for the Alaskan Command, said Tuesday’s flights involved a pair of Tu-95 Bear bombers — the same type of Russian propeller-driven aircraft flown Monday.
She didn’t immediately have specifics on where the bombers flew or when on Tuesday the response to their presence occurred.
“No fighters were launched; an E-3 (Sentry AWACS plane) was launched,” Schmidt said. “Any time we detect an unidentified aircraft or something in the airspace, we base our reaction on what we deem as appropriate.”
There wasn’t any initial word on why Tuesday’s approach didn’t warrant an intercept response.
Schmidt said both Monday and Tuesday’s flights were incursions of the Air Defense Identification Zone around Alaska, in which aircraft approaching the state from overseas are asked to identify themselves and state their intentions, rather than sovereign U.S. airspace within the 12-mile territorial limit extending from the Alaska landmass.
“At no time did Russian aircraft cross into our airspace,” Schmidt said. “They were in international airspace the whole time.”
Lt. Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, the Alaskan Command’s head, said Tuesday that F-22 Raptor fighters were scrambled Monday from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage to intercept the first pair of bombers about 100 miles southwest of Kodiak Island.
American and Russian pilots waved at each other, Wilsbach said, but didn’t have any voice communications before the bombers turned around and headed back to Russia.