Military authorities say U.S. Air Force and Canadian fighter jets were scrambled to escort two Russian bombers that were travelling near the North American coastline.
The North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) says two F-22 and two CF-18 fighter jets identified two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers that were entering an area patrolled by the Royal Canadian Air Force on Saturday morning.
There were no reports of conflict between the Russian and the U.S. and Canadian jets.
The bombers remained in international airspace and did not enter sovereign territory, according to NORAD.
An E-3 AWACS, 2x F-22, 2x CF-18 fighter jets from NORAD positively identified 2x Russian Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers entering the Canadian Air Defense Identification Zone on January 26, 2019. Bombers remained in international airspace and did not enter sovereign territory pic.twitter.com/utKe26SRBB
— NORAD & USNORTHCOM (@Norad_Northcom) January 26, 2019
NORAD says it uses radar, satellites and fighter aircraft to patrol the skies and monitor aircraft entering U.S. or Canadian airspace.
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“NORAD’s top priority is defending Canada and the United States. Our ability to protect our nations starts with successfully detecting, tracking, and positively identifying aircraft of interest approaching U.S. and Canadian airspace,” General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, the NORAD commander, said in a statement.
Canadian fighter jets have intercepted Russian bombers before in April 2017 and December 2014.
© 2019 The Canadian Press