Russian military drills put the US and Canadian defences on alert over the weekend after two nuclear bombers were spotted close to the North American coastline. The two Tupolev TU-160 strategic bombers were performing a 15-hour flight across the Arctic and appeared to breach the Canadian Air Defense Identification Zone. This prompted a desperate scramble for fighter jets to patrol the region.
The Russian Blackjack supersonic bombers, which are capable of carrying nuclear bombs, were part of a “routine exercise” according to the Russians.
The fighter jets from the US and Royal Canadian Air Force escorted the Russian bombers out of the airspace and no conflict was reported between the two sides.
The Russian Defence Ministry later insisted that the Arctic drill was performed over neutral waters of the Arctic Ocean, the Barents Sea, Laptev Sea and Kara Sea.
North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) agreed that the Russian planes remained in “international airspace”.
Although US officials did not disclose the exact location of the incident, they did warn that of the Russian jets’ close proximity to the US coastline.
They said two F-22 and two CF-18 fighter jets identified the two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers entering an area patrolled by the Royal Canadian Air Force on Saturday.
NORAD is a combined US-Canadian command that uses radar, satellites, and aircraft to monitor North American airspace.
US General Terrence O’Shaughnessy said…
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