Four Russian bombers and a refueling plane flew into the 200-mile-wide U.S. Air Defense Identification Zone on July 4th near Alaska, and later flew within 39 miles of the northern California coast, officials reported this week.
"Good morning American pilots, we are here to greet you on your Fourth of July Independence Day," radioed a crew member of one of the long-range Russian Tu-95 Bear-H bombers, Time magazine reported
Officials from the Colorado-based North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said U.S. F-22 fighter jets scrambled and intercepted the Russian aircraft. Two Russian planes peeled off, and two went south. The latter two were intercepted by U.S. F-15 fighters off the coast of California's Mendocino county, north of San Francisco.
It was the first time since 2012 that the U.S. has intercepted Russian planes off the California coast, said Capt. Jeff Davis, a spokesman for NORAD.
In 2014, he said Russian flights in the defense zone happened roughly 10 times a year. The latest July Fourth flights coincided with a telephone call from Russian President Vladimir Putin to President Barack Obama, noted the Washington Free Beacon
Davis noted that the Russian planes were within their rights, as they don't technically have to file flight plans for flying through the zone.
Russia has in recent years piloted air and seacraft into identification zones in places like the U.K. and Sweden.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.