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Video: US fighter jets intercept 4 Russian warplanes off Alaskan coast

A NORAD F-22 fighter jet flies beside a Russian Tu-95 bomber during an intercept mission near Alaska, Oct. 19, 2020. (North American Aerospace Defense Command, photo/Released)
October 20, 2020

On Monday evening, F-22 fighter jets assigned to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), intercepted four Russian warplanes and identified a fifth flying within 30 nautical miles of the Alaskan coast.

In a Tuesday morning tweet, NORAD confirmed, its F-22s, supported by E-3 airborne warning and control system (AWACS) and a KC-135 refueler aircraft intercepted two Russian Tu-95 bombers escorted by two Su-35 fighters and supported by a Russian A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft.

NORAD tweeted, “North American Aerospace Defense Command F-22 fighter aircraft, supported by E-3 airborne warning and control system and KC-135 refueler aircraft, intercepted two Russian Tu-95 bombers escorted by two Su-35 fighter aircraft late Monday evening.”

Russia’s Ministry of Defense on Tuesday released video of its aircraft being intercepted near Alaska.

“NORAD also positively identified a Russian A-50 supporting the intercepted aircraft which loitered within the ADIZ for approx 1.5 hrs and came within 30nm of Alaskan shores. All Russian aircraft remained in int’l airspace and at no time entered 🇺🇸 or 🇨🇦 sovereign airspace.”

“NORAD forces remain on alert 24/7/365 to respond to potential threats to Canada and the United States. The agility and readiness of our personnel ensures we are successful in addressing potential aerospace threats with the appropriate response at the right time – General VanHerck,” NORAD tweeted.

The ADIZ refers to the air defense identification zone established around U.S. airspace.

NORAD aircraft have carried numerous intercept missions against Russian aircraft flying near Alaska in 2020. In August, NORAD fighter jets intercepted six more Russian aircraft flying near Alaska’s coast for several hours.

In one set of June intercepts, NORAD intercepted eight Russian aircraft, including Tu-95 bombers, Su-35 fighter jets, and A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft flying within 30 miles of Alaska. That incident came at the start of a wave of June intercept incidents. A week after intercepting the first eight Russian aircraft, NORAD intercepted eight more Russian aircraft, flying in two bomber formations. Within a two week period, NORAD carried out five separate intercept missions.

In April, Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the then-NORAD Commander, assessed that Russia’s numerous flights around Alaska were part of an effort to test U.S. defenses for weaknesses. In March O’Shaughnessy assessed intercepted Russian Tu-142 Russian reconnaissance aircraft spied on U.S. submarine drills as they loitered around an area where the drills were being performed.