By Tom Squitieri, Talk Media News
WASHINGTON — This weekend, it is Russia’s turn to test and torment the Pentagon, with the U.S. military intercepting six Russian military jets off the coast of Alaska and Moscow’s provocations elsewhere.
U.S. F-22 fighter jets, supported by KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft, intercepted three groups of two Russian Tu-142 patrol jets that entered the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone. The Russian jets came within 50 nautical miles of the Alaskan shore, stayed in international airspace, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said, then “loitered” in the air defense identification zone for about five hours.
The six Russian military aircraft were tracked in the skies near Alaska’s coast after reports of a Russian submarine spotted off the state’s shoreline.
That was followed by the opening of what the Pentagon is calling the largest Russian war games near Alaska since the Soviet era. Russia also released never-before-seen footage of the largest nuclear bomb ever detonated, called the Tsar Bomba.
Meanwhile, two Russian aircraft made an “unsafe, unprofessional” intercept of a US Air Force B-52 bomber on Friday over the Black Sea and in international waters, according to a statement from US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Public Affairs.
The Russian pilots crossed within 100 feet of the nose of the B-52 multiple times and also caused turbulence to the B-52 restricting its ability to maneuver, according to the statement.
“Actions like these increase the potential for midair collisions, are unnecessary, and inconsistent with good airmanship and international flight rules,” said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, US Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, in the statement.
“While the Russian aircraft were operating in international airspace, they jeopardized the safety of flight of the aircraft involved,” he said. “We expect them to operate within international standards set to ensure safety and prevent accidents,” he said.
Earlier in the week, it was the Chinese military engaging in provocative actions against U.S. military patrols.