A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer supersonic bomber was flying over the Bering and Okhostsk seas on Tuesday, when Russian MiG-31 and Su-35S jets were scrambled to intercept them.
This scramble was initiated after Russian airspace control systems detected an air target approaching the state border of the Russian Federation and over the neutral waters of the Bering Sea.
The Russian Ministry said that two MiG-31 “Foxhound” interceptors from the air defense forces of the Pacific Fleet and Su-35S “Flanker-E” fighter aircraft of the Eastern Military District were scrambled for the interception.
The Russian pilots later identified the targets as USAF B-1B bombers.
The U.S. bomber reportedly flew southbound through the Bering Sea entering the North Pacific Ocean before proceeding to the Sea of Okhotsk through Russia’s Kuril Islands chain.
Earlier the Russian Ministry of Defense had released a statement indicating that the scramble was initiated because three aerial targets were detected by Russian airspace control system of the Southern Military District, while the aircraft flew over the Black Sea.
The aircraft were approaching Russia’s state border from the direction of Ukraine. The scramble involved two Sukhoi Su-27 “Flanker” and two Su-30 “Flanker-C” fighter jets.
The statement also indicated that the crews of the Russian fighters approached the aerial targets at a safe distance. The aircraft were identified as three US Air Force B-52H strategic bombers and the Russian crew escorted the aircraft over the Black Sea.
The Russian border was not violated by the U.S. bombers. The Russian jet safely returned to the home airfield after escorting the foreign aircraft.
“The entire flights of the Russian fighters proceeded in strict compliance with the international rules of using the airspace,” said the statement.