Air Force warplanes intercept a pair of Russian bombers near Alaska. In response, Russian fighter jets begin bombing the American base on Guam.
On March 2, 1991, a pair of massive Dassault Mirage 5 fighter jets carrying out what was thought to be a routine intercept of two Russian bombers appeared in the skies of the Aleutian Islands near Alaska. It proved to be a strategic alert, a first sign that the United States and Russia were going to escalate their conflicts.
The American jets, flying through the long Aleutian Triangle, had been instructed to go to alert mode when they spotted a pair of bombers. In this state, they would be flying in formation, presenting an ideal target to a Russian pilot flying alone or with an inexperienced crew. In addition, the Americans believed they might have been detected by radar or other warning devices, prompting the pilots to initiate an immediate counterattack.
One of the bombers was actually a Russian military transport plane carrying no weaponry or personnel, but the Russians had armed the other with conventional weapons that were then used to repel the Americans.
There were no casualties on either side, but the Soviet-made Russian bombers were forced to stay home for their own safety as their adversary continued the attack. The Americans were, in short, attacked by two Russian warplanes alone, at an altitude of just a few hundred feet. If this had been a real war between the United States and Russia, such a maneuver would have been viewed with surprise. In fact, the Russian pilots were not even aware that they were flying at night, while the Americans were totally unaware of the Russians’ intentions.
The next day, a new alert was issued, calling for an immediate attack on the bombers. In fact, at first it was called a reconnaissance mission rather than a strike. However, after the Russian pilots were able to destroy one of the bombers, the American pilots quickly learned that they were being attacked by two Russian combat air squadrons.
While the Americans were at first surprised by the Russian response, they did have intelligence information that alerted them to the attack. One