On Tuesday, two Russian bombers flew near the coast of Alaska for the second day in a row. According to Fox News, Russia reportedly flew two long-range nuclear-capable Tu-95H bombers off the coast of Alaska at approximately 5 p.m. local time. The U.S. military radar spotted the bombers but, unlike Monday night, the U.S. Air Force did not scramble any fighter jets to fly alongside them.
“As a former USAF pilot who flew for 3 years in Alaska, Russian Bear bombers approaching the coast is nothing unusual,” L. Todd Wood, columnist for The Washington Times and former special operations pilot, told American Military News. “We should treat it as the routine interaction it is, but be vigilant for an uptick in frequency and aggressiveness.”
“They will always be probing our defenses and reaction times,” Wood continued.
Russia also flew two bombers off the coast of Alaska on Monday night. On Monday, the U.S. Air Force flew a pair of F-22 Raptors alongside the Russian bombers for 12 minutes before they reversed course and headed back to eastern Russia.
Navy Commander Gary Ross described Monday night’s interception of the Russian bombers as “safe and professional.”
Fox News reported that instead of scrambling the jets on Tuesday, the Air Force launched a E-3 Sentry early warning aircraft (AWACS) to ensure that there were no other aircraft flying below the two bombers.
The AWACS is a modified commercial aircraft with a 30-foot diameter dome that acts as a warning and control system that provides real-time images to the Joint Air Operations Center. The U.S. Air Force explains that the AWACS “provides situational awareness of friendly, neutral and hostile activity, command and control of an area of responsibility, battle management of theater forces, all-altitude and all-weather surveillance of the battle space, and early warning of enemy actions during joint, allied, and coalition operations.”