North American Aerospace Defense Command F-22 fighter aircraft, supported by KC-135 air refuelers, intercepted three groups of two Tu-142 Russian maritime patrol aircraft that entered the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone late last night.
The Russian aircraft loitered within the ADIZ for approximately five hours and came within 50 nautical miles of Alaskan shores; however, remained in international airspace and at no time entered 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.
“Our northern approaches have had an increase in foreign military activity as our competitors continue to expand their military presence and probe our defenses,” said General Glen D. VanHerck, commander of NORAD. “This year, we’ve conducted more than a dozen intercepts, the most in recent years. The importance of our continued efforts to project air defense operations in and through the north has never been more apparent.”
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.
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