The U.S. North American Aerospace Defence Command deployed F-22 fighters jets to intercept three groups of two Russian Tupelov Tu-142 Russian maritime reconnaissance and patrol aircraft flying towards Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone late Thursday night, Your Content has learned.
American Military News was first to report the breaking news story.
In a Thursday press release, NORAD said U.S. F-22 Raptors flew to intercept the Russian aircraft as they flew within 50 nautical miles of Alaskan shores, and loitered within the ADIZ for around five hours. The U.S. fighters effort was assisted by KC-135 air refuelers during the hours-long intercept mission.
“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.