The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) has deployed its fighter jets to intercept two Russian Air Force Tu-95MS strategic bombers over the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean.
According to the reports, F-15, F-4 and F-2 fighters were scrambled from six bases. An E-767 AWACS Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft was also scrambled from Hamamatsu Air Base to provide assistance.
The Russian defence ministry also confirmed the deployment of the bombers for air patrol. Two Tu-95MS strategic bombers conducted the patrol over the Sea of Japan and the western part of the Pacific Ocean, the ministry said. The operation was carried out in accordance with international regulations on the use of airspace over neutral waters, it added.
Previous year, the ministry reported that two Russian strategic bombers of same model were closely followed by two U.S. Air Force F-18 fighters, as well as Japanese F-15, F-4, and F-2A fighters.
Tupolev Tu-95 (Russian: Туполев Ту-95; NATO reporting name: “Bear”) is a large, four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform.
First flown in 1952, the Tu-95 entered service with the Soviet Union in 1956 and is expected to serve the Russian Air Force until at least 2040.
A development of the bomber for maritime patrol is designated Tu-142, while a passenger airliner derivative was called Tu-114.
The aircraft has four Kuznetsov NK-12 engines with contra-rotating propellers. It is the only propeller-powered strategic bomber still in operational use today. The Tu-95 is one of the loudest military aircraft, particularly because the tips of the propeller blades move faster than the speed of sound. Its distinctive swept-back wings are at a 35° angle. The Tu-95 is one of very few mass-produced propeller-driven aircraft with swept wings.
Tu-95MS strategic bombers are based on the Tu-142 airframe. This variant became the launch platform of the Raduga Kh-55 cruise missile and put into serial production in 1981. Known to NATO as the Bear-H and was referred to by the U.S. military as a Tu-142 for some time in the 1980s before its true designation became known.
Tu-95MSM is a modernized version of MS16 with advanced radio-radar equipment as well as a target-acquiring/navigation system based on GLONASS. Four underwing pylons for up to 8 Kh-101/102 stealth cruise missiles. 15 aircraft have been modernized as of late August 2017. Its combat debut was made on 17 November 2016 in Syria.
All Tu-95s now in Russian service are the Tu-95MS variant (48 Tu-95MS and 12 Tu-95MSM), built in the 1980s and 1990s.