US, Canadian fighter planes scramble to escort Russian jets

    Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado (AP) - Military authorities say U.S. Air Force and Canadian fighter jets were scrambled to escort two Russian bombers that were traveling near the North American coastline.

    The North American Aerospace Defense Command says two F-22 and two CF-18 fighter jets identified two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers that were entering an area patrolled by the Royal Canadian Air Force west of Alaska on Saturday morning.

    There were no reports of conflict between the Russian and the U.S. and Canadian jets.

    NORAD says it uses radar, satellites and fighter aircraft to patrol the skies and monitor aircraft entering U.S. or Canadian airspace.

    "NORAD's top priority is defending Canada and the United States. Our ability to protect our nations starts with successfully detecting, tracking, and positively identifying aircraft of interest approaching U.S. and Canadian airspace," General Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, the NORAD commander, said in a statement.

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