US intercepts 2 Russian bombers near Alaska's coast

Russian bombers fly near Alaska; Air Force scrambles jets

USA fighter planes have intercepted and escorted two Russian bombers in worldwide airspace off the coast of Alaska.

"What happened is exactly what's supposed to happen", Lieutenant General Ken Wilsbach said.

This wasn't the first direct Russian military provocation of the Trump era.

The planes made contact about a hundred miles southwest of Kodiak Island.

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That episode involved Russian long-range bombers and included cockpit-to-cockpit communication in which the Russian pilots relayed a message to the Americans: "Good morning, American pilots".

The US NORAD jets that conducted the intercept were stealthy F-22s - a fighter that became operational in 2005 but only saw its first combat in attacks on ISIS positions in Syria in late 2014.

"What makes this somewhat unique is the fact that they haven't been in Alaskan airspace in about two years", Wilsbach said. The last time occurred in July 2015 off the coast of California according to CNN. The Russian planes didn't enter USA territory. "They were exercising freedom of navigation".

"The Tu-95MS bombers were being accompanied for 27 minutes by the F-22 fighter jets of the US Air Force", the ministry said. The Russian aircraft were in worldwide airspace throughout the encounter as American airspace extends 12 nautical miles from the USA shoreline.

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