Fighter jets of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) intercepted two Russian bomber formations that entered the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone.
The two interceptions took place on June 10, 2020. The first air group consisted of two Tupolev Tu-95 bombers escorted by two Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets with the support of an A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft. The formation came within 20 nautical miles (37 kilometers) from the coast of Alaska. A second group consisting of two Tu-95 bombers accompanied by an A-50 flew within 32 nautical miles (59 kilometers). The Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) extends up to about 170 nautical miles (320 kilometers) from the coast.
Both groups were intercepted by a patrol of two F-22 Raptor fighter jets, supported by KC-135 Stratotankers and an E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft. The two formations “remained in international airspace and at no time did the aircraft enter United States or Canadian sovereign airspace,” said NORAD.
NORAD intercepts Russian bombers in the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone on June 10th, 2020. pic.twitter.com/XABO23aGpA— North American Aerospace Defense Command (@NORADCommand) June 10, 2020
“Intercepting multiple Russian aircraft demonstrates NORAD forces’ readiness and capability to defend the homelands 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year,” said General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, NORAD Commander. “Flying air patrols protects the approaches to our nations and sends a clear message we continue executing our homeland defense missions with the same capability and capacity we always bring to the fight.”
The NORAD is a bi-national organization in charge of defending the airspaces of the United States of America and Canada. It is in charge of the Operation Noble Eagle which has been established in the wake of September 11, 2001 and has conducted about 1,900 interceptions since then.
Interceptions between Russia and the United States are frequent over the Bering Sea where Russia and Alaska are facing each other.