PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (KFVS) - The North American Aerospace Defense Command F-22s, supported by KC-135 Stratotankers and E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft, intercepted four Russian Tu-142s entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone on Saturday, March 14.
The Russian aircraft pairs entered the ADIZ from the West and North of Alaska.
The western pair of Tu-142s remained within the ADIZ for around four hours and loitered in the vicinity of the U.S. Navy’s ICEX. The Tu-142s were escorted by F-22s the entire time.
The northern pair of Tu-142s spent around 15 minutes in the ADIZ and were also escorted by F-22s.
The Russian aircraft remained in international airspace in the Beaufort Sea coming within 45 nautical miles of the Alaskan coast and did not enter United States or Canadian sovereign airspace.
NORAD employs a layered defense network of radars, satellites, and jet fighters to identify aircraft and determine the appropriate response.
The identification and monitoring of aircraft entering the U.S. or Canadian ADIZ demonstrates how NORAD executes its aerospace warning and aerospace control missions for the United States and Canada.
“This is the second and third time this week that incursions into our air defense identification zones were met and escorted by NORAD fighters,” said General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, NORAD Commander. “We continue to see repeated Russian military aviation activity in the Arctic and we will defend the U.S. and Canada against these threats emanating from our northern approaches.”
NORAD is a bi-national command focused on the defense of both the United States and Canada; the response to potential aerospace threats does not distinguish between the two nations and draws on forces from both countries.