F-22 fighter jets with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) intercepted four Russian Tu-142 reconnaissance planes flying within the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) Saturday morning.
NORAD’s intercept mission is the tenth such incident since the start of 2020 and the sixth incident in just two weeks, after the most recent intercept on Thursday.
NORAD confirmed the Saturday intercept mission south of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands in an emailed statement to American Military News. The U.S. F-22 fighters were supported by KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling aircraft and E-3 Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS).
One of the Russian planes can be seen in a video provided to American Military News by NORAD.
The U.S. aircraft stayed with the Russian reconnaissance planes for nearly eight hours during the intercept flight. At no point were the Russian aircraft able to enter U.S. airspace and remained in international airspace for the duration of the interaction.
“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 the ADIZ,” NORAD commander Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy said. “Despite COVID-19, we remain fully ready and capable of conducting our no-fail mission of homeland defense.”
NORAD also described its continuing mission to provide air defense over North America, designated as Operation NOBLE EAGLE.
“NORAD employs a layered defense network of radars, satellites, and fighter aircraft to identify aircraft and determine the appropriate response,” NORAD’s press statement reads. “The identification and monitoring of aircraft entering a US or Canadian ADIZ demonstrates how NORAD executes its aerospace warning and aerospace control missions for the United States and Canada.”