Japan scrambles jet fighters to intercept Russian bombers
The Japanese air force scrambled jet fighters to intercept a pair of Russian naval bombers patrolling over the northeast Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, Russian officials said Friday, DPA reported.
The two Tu-95 turboprop bombers remained in international air space for their entire 11-hour flight, according to Defence MInistry spokesman Vladimir Drik.
Japan sent two-fighter pairs of F-15 and F-2 aircraft to intercept and then escort the Russian bombers over portions of the flight, and there was no conflict between the two sides, Drik said, the Interfax news agency reported.
Russia in 2007, after a 15-year halt, renewed long distance sea patrols by Tu-95 bombers. The flights have reached to the Aleutian Islands, Canada's north coast, and sea space north of Iceland and Norway.
Tu-95 patrols to the edge of NATO airspace and their interception by NATO fighters were regular occurrence during the Cold War.
Frequently called a "Bear" by pilots, the Tu-95 is a long-range aircraft usually armed with anti-ship missiles. It main base in the Russian Far East is the Ukrainka airfield, near the Amur River.