BY Jack Davis, The Western JournalFebruary 15, 2023
1 year ago
BY 
 | February 15, 2023
1 year ago

US F-16s Intercept 4 Russian Warplanes Near American Airspace

Four Russian warplanes danced at the edges of American airspace Monday, promoting the United States to send F-16 fighters aloft.

Russian Tu-95 Bear-H strategic bombers and Su-35 Flanker-E fighters entered the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone, North American Aerospace Defense Command said in a statement posted on social media Tuesday.

The zone is outside of American and Canadian airspace, which wasn't entered, NORAD said.

In response, two F-16s went to deal with the Russian aircraft, with two F-35A fighters, one E-3 Sentry airborne warning system and two KC-135 Stratotanker refueling planes in support.

The statement said "this Russian flight activity is in no way related to recent NORAD and U.S. Northern Command operations associated with airborne objects over North America during the last two weeks.”

Russia often sends its military aircraft to tickle America’s early warning system, NORAD said.

“This Russian activity in the North American ADIZ occurs regularly and is not seen as a threat, nor is the activity seen as provocative,” it said.

“Since Russia resumed out-of-area Long Range Aviation activity in 2007, NORAD has seen a yearly average of approximately six to seven intercepts of Russian military aircraft in the ADIZ,” NORAD said. “These numbers have varied each year from as high as 15 to as low as zero.”

In October, two Tu-95 bombers entered the ADIZ and were greeted by a pair of F-16s, NORAD said at the time.

Long before recent concerns over a Chinese spy balloon and as-yet-unidentified objects drifting over America and Canada from the north, Russian activity in the Arctic region has been a concern, according to CNN.

In December, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said “a significant Russian military build-up in the high north" was causing NATO to "double its presence” to keep pace. He did not provide details.

“The shortest way from Russia to North America is over the Arctic North Pole. So the strategic importance of these areas has not changed because of the war in Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said.

Russian activity included “reopening old Soviet bases, military sites,” he said, as well as “testing novel weapons in the Arctic and the high north.”

A report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies said Russia was possibly looking to make the Arctic a “staging ground” for projecting its power into the North Atlantic.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: Jack Davis, The Western Journal

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