US fighter jets intercepted Russian bombers near the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz south of Japan today, Reuters reports. In an apparently tense moment, one of the Russian "Bear" bombers flew over the deck of the carrier. Four US F18 fighters took off from the Nimitz to escort the hostile aircraft out of the area.
The confrontation was reminiscent of numerous cold war incidents. "Nimitz launched aircraft to intercept and escort the Russian aircraft in the vicinity of the aircraft carrier," said a Pentagon official. "It is standard operating procedure for US planes to escort aircraft flying in the vicinity of US Navy ships." Russian bombers have recently amped up their flights near US territory and naval bases, demonstrating their long-range strike capabilities.