NORAD scrambled fighters after Russian
bombers seen off California coast
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[June 13, 2014]
By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two Russian
long-range bombers were spotted just 50 miles off the California coast
earlier this week and air defense officials scrambled a pair of F-22
fighter jets to make visual identification, a NORAD spokeswoman said on
The Russian aircraft never entered U.S. airspace during what
appeared to be a routine training mission, Major Beth Smith of the
North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said.
Smith said four TU-95 Bear H Russian Long Range Strategic Bombers
and an accompanying refueling tanker were first noticed entering the
so-called Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) within 200 miles of
Alaska coast at about 4:30 p.m. pacific time on Monday, Smith said.
They left the ADIZ heading west after two F-22 fighters from the
Alaskan NORAD region made visual contact with them, she said.
Five hours later, two of the Russian bombers were detected within 50
miles of the California coast, Smith said, and visually identified
by two F-15 fighters from the Continental NORAD region.
According to NORAD, the Air Defense Identification Zone is defined
as a zone of airspace which extends approximately 200 nautical miles
out from the U.S. coastline.
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As part of its mission, NORAD tracks and identifies all aircraft
flying in that zone before they enter sovereign airspace, which
extends 12 miles from the coastline.
Smith said Russian aircraft have flown within the ADIZ dozens of
times over the past several years as part of training missions.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Sandra Maler)
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