North American Aerospace Defense Command F-22s, supported by a KC-135 Stratotanker, intercepted two Russian IL-38 maritime patrol aircraft entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone in the late hours of June 24.
The Russian aircraft came within 50 miles of Unimak Island along the Aleutian island chain, spending approximately four hours in the ADIZ before exiting. The IL-38s remained in international airspace and at no time did the aircraft enter United States or Canadian sovereign airspace.
NORAD employs a layered defense network of radars, satellites, and fighter aircraft to identify aircraft and determine the appropriate response. 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.
“For the fifth time this month, NORAD has demonstrated our readiness and ability to defend the homeland by intercepting Russian military aircraft entering our Air Defense Identification Zone,” said General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, NORAD Commander. “The mission assurance measures we are taking to protect our people ensure we are meeting the challenges and operating through the COVID-19 environment to defend our nations, just as NORAD forces have for more than 60 years.”
Operation NOBLE EAGLE is the name given to all air sovereignty and air defense missions in North America. NORAD is a binational command focused on the defense of both the U.S. and Canada, the response to potential aerospace threats does not distinguish between the two nations, and draws on forces from both countries.