U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter jets assigned to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) intercepted four Russian Tu-142 reconnaissance aircraft entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on June 27, 2020.
The F-22s were supported by KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling tanker aircraft and E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft.
According to NORAD, the Tu-142s came within 65 nautical miles south of the Alaskan Aleutian island chain and loitered in the ADIZ for nearly eight hours. The NORAD statement said that the Russian aircraft remained in international airspace and at no time entered United States or Canadian sovereign airspace.
“This year alone, NORAD forces have identified and intercepted Russian military aircraft including bombers, fighters, and maritime patrol aircraft on ten separate occasions when they have flown into the ADIZ,” said General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, NORAD Commander. “Despite COVID-19, we remain fully ready and capable of conducting our no-fail mission of homeland defense.”
Earlier this week, NORAD scrambled F-22 jets to intercept two Russian Il-38 “May” maritime patrol aircraft entering the Alaskan ADIZ.
Last week, NORAD F-22 jets conducted intercepts of two Russian bomber aircraft formations entering the Alaskan ADIZ. The first formation of Russian aircraft consisted of two Tu-95MS “Bear-H” long-range strategic bombers, accompanied by two Su-35 “Flanker-E” fighter jets and was supported by an A-50 “Mainstay” airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft. The second formation consisted of two Tu-95 bombers supported by an A-50.
This was following two similar intercepts by NORAD F-22 jets the previous week. In that case, the first Russian bomber formation consisted of two Tu-95 bombers, accompanied by two Su-35s and an A-50, which came within 20 nautical miles of Alaskan shores. The second formation consisted of two Tu-95s supported by an A-50 aircraft and came within 32 nm of Alaskan shores.