American fighter jets intercepted four Russian planes that entered the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Saturday, the latest in a series of incidents off the coast of Alaska.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said in a statement that F-22 aircraft intercepted four Russian Tu-142 reconnaissance aircraft entering ADIZ. The Russian plane reached 65 nautical miles from the Aleutian Islands of Alaska and remained in ADIZ for almost eight hours, although they did not enter the sovereign airspace of the United States or Canada.
Saturday’s interception was at least the fourth incident this month, with the most recent one occurring on Wednesday when US F-22 fighter jets intercepted two Russian IL-38 maritime patrol aircraft entering ADIZ.
“This year alone, NORAD forces have identified and intercepted Russian military aircraft, including bombers, fighters, and maritime patrol aircraft, on ten separate occasions when they have flown into ADIZ,” said General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, NORAD commander.
“Despite COVID-19, we continue to be fully prepared and capable of carrying out our mission without failure to defend the fatherland,” he added.
Despite COVID-19, we remain fully prepared and able to carry out our mission without fail in defense of the fatherland. “- General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, Commander of NORAD
– North American Aerospace Defense Command (@NORADCommand) June 27, 2020
In March and again in April, the US Army also intercepted Russian planes less than 50 nautical miles off the coast of Alaska, although the last interceptions occurred closer.