Eagle and Bear

Just a few days ago I posted a 1979 image of an F-14 Tomcat intercepting a Soviet Tu-95 Bear strategic bomber. A few days later NORAD F-15s do it up near Alaska:

Click for bigger version

An F-15C Eagle from the 12th Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base flies next to a Russian Tu-95 Bear Bomber during a Russian exercise Sept. 28, which brought the Bear near the west coast of Alaska. The Eagle took off as part of North American Aerospace Defense Command’s reaction to this training opportunity provided by the Russian 137th Air Army.

The Rooskies penetrated North America’s Air Defense Identification Zone but did not cross into US air space.

Read more in the Seattle PI: Fighter planes intercept Russian bombers

Lt. Gen. Igor Khvorov, commander of Russian long-range aviation, said the exercise involved 70 bombers, which test-fired 18 cruise missiles, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.

The Russians had announced the plans last week.

This sort of thing (without prior announcement, in most cases) was quite common during the Cold War. How often are our planes still intercepting Russians these days, though? I don’t think it can be very common.

UPDATE: I switched to a far-higher resolusion image. Even bigger version here.