By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - U.S. fighter jets intercepted Russian aircraft near Alaska for a second straight day, the U.S. and Canada's joint air defense command said late Tuesday.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said it scrambled four F-22 stealth fighter jets and two E-3 Sentry reconnaissance aircraft to intercept an unspecified number of Russian Tu-95 "Bear" bombers, which are nuclear-capable aircraft, and Su-35 fighter jets.
The Russian aircraft then left the U.S. and Canadian Air Defense Identification Zone before returning with two Su-35 fighter jets that were intercepted by an additional two F-22s and E-3 aircraft, the joint command said in a statement posted to social media.
The zone where the intercept occurred extends approximately 200 miles off Alaska's western coast.
But the Russian aircraft stayed in international airspace and did not enter Canadian or U.S. airspace, the command added.
The incident comes one day after NORAD confirmed the United States intercepted six Russian military planes off the coast of Alaska.
NORAD said it has intercepted an average of six to seven Russian sorties in the U.S. and Canadian air zone annually since Russia resumed long-range patrols in 2007.
Tuesday's incidents mark the fourth and fifth intercept this year, the command said.
Should the trend continue apace, NORAD would likely double the number of intercepts in the zone this year compared to previous years.