U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter jets intercepted two Russian Il-38 maritime patrol aircraft entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on April 8.
The jets, assigned to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), were supported by NORAD KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling aircraft and E-3 Sentry AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control System) aircraft.
F-22 fighters, supported by KC-135 Stratotanker and E-3 AWACS aircraft from the North American Aerospace Defense Command intercepted two Russian IL-38 aircraft entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone on April 8th, 2020.
— North American Aerospace Defense Command (@NORADCommand) April 9, 2020
The Russian aircraft were intercepted in the Bering Sea, north of the Aleutian Islands, and did not enter the United States or Canadian sovereign airspace, according to a NORAD statement.
“COVID-19 or not, NORAD continues actively watching for threats and defending the homelands 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year”, said General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, the Commander of the NORAD and the U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM).
“This is the latest of several occasions in the past month in which we have intercepted Russian aircraft operating near the approaches to our nations. We continue to execute our no-fail homeland defense missions with the same capability and capacity we always bring to the fight.”
The Ilyushin Il-38 “Dolphin” (NATO reporting name: May) is a maritime patrol aircraft and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft designed in the Soviet Union. It was a development of the Ilyushin Il-18 turboprop transport.
NORAD is a U.S./Canada bi-national organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning for North America.
Aerospace warning includes the detection, validation, and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles, through mutual support arrangements with other commands. Aerospace control includes ensuring air sovereignty and air defense of the airspace of Canada and the United States.
The renewal of the NORAD Agreement in May 2006 added a maritime warning mission, which entails a shared awareness and understanding of the activities conducted in U.S. and Canadian maritime approaches, maritime areas and internal waterways.
NORAD’s primary mission is to prevent air attacks against North America, safeguard the sovereign airspaces of the United States and Canada by responding to unknown, unwanted, and unauthorized air activity approaching and operating within these airspaces, and provide aerospace and maritime warning for North America.