This past Saturday, the 4th of July, was a great day for America. After all, we collectively celebrated our independence by spending time with our families, grilling out, drinking beers, shooting guns, launching fireworks, and, of course, remembering the sacrifices made to get us where we are today. While we spent the day having a good time, some killjoys tried to show us that they’re relevant, too.
From ABC 11:
As Americans were celebrating the Fourth of July holiday, four Russian long-range bomber aircraft flew close enough to the US shores that they were intercepted by military fighter jets. The first set of two bombers flew near Alaska and just 30 minutes later a separate set flew far off the west coast of California.
The first two TU-95 bombers were intercepted by two F-22s off the coast of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. The second two, flying off the coast of California, were intercepted and identified by two F-15s. Russian aircraft are often intercepted near Alaska, but it is relatively rare for them to be found operating so close to California.
Now, technically speaking, the Russian bombers were not in sovereign airspace. That airspace, which extends 12 miles from the coastline, was not penetrated. However, the Russian aircraft did enter the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), which extends 200 miles out from the U.S. coastline. While flying in the ADIZ, aircraft are required to identify themselves — something the Russians did not do. Subsequently, the fighters were sent up to intercept the Russian aircraft and politely escort them away from the U.S.
Were the Russians on a routine training flight? Possibly. I, however, think they were trying to be dicks. They knew it was the Fourth of July. They wanted to rain on our parade. They wanted to show us that they were capable of fucking with America. If that was their intent, they failed. Our air defense systems picked them up in time to scramble fighters who were able to show them who really rules the air.
I don’t know how the incidents actually played out, but I like to think they went something like this:
[via ABC 11]