NORAD: Fighter jets scrambled after Russian bombers spotted off California

Russian strategic long range bombers fly over the Kremlin on Red Square in Moscow on May 7, 2009 during a dress rehearsal for the May 9 Victory Day parade celebrating the end of WII. NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images

Authorities say two F-22 fighter jets were scrambled after a pair of Russian bombers were spotted 50 miles off the coast of California earlier this week, Reuters reported, citing a NORAD spokesperson.

Major Beth Smith, of North American Aerospace Defense Command, said that the long-range Russian bombers never officially entered U.S. airspace when two NORAD fighter jets made visual contact with them.

The incident occurred about five hours after four Russian bombers and a refueling tanker were seen entering the so-called Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), airspace that extends about 200 miles from the U.S. coast. The Russian aircraft left the ADIZ after being identified by two fighters from the Alaskan NORAD region, Smith said.

Smith said the Russian planes' flight appeared to be part of a routine training mission, which Russian aircraft have carried out dozens of times in recent years in the ADIZ.

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