Against a background of joint Russia-China military maneuvers
Two NORAD F-22 “Raptor” fighter jets intercepted two Russian Tu-95 “Bear” bombers flying together with two Russian Su-35 “Flanker” fighter jets in international airspace west of Alaska around 10 p.m. EDT on September 11, 2018.
According to the NORAD statement, published on Twitter on September 12, “at no time did the aircraft enter United States or Canadian sovereign airspace.” Anyway, they were identified and monitored by the F-22s until the Russian bombers and jets left the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone. A similar incident happened on September 1, 2018, with two Tu-95s escorted by two NORAD fighter jets south of the Aleutian Islands around 12 p.m. EDT.
These episodes might be connected with a military drill Vostok 2018 conducted by Russia, with the assistance of China, in the Russian Far East and North Pacific September 11-17, 2018. As reported by Russia’s Ministry of Defence, there are “about 300,000 servicemen, over 1,000 aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles, 80 ships, and 36,000 tanks and other vehicles” involved. Up to 3,500 Chinese soldiers take part only in the joint exercise at the Tsugol training ground.