Less than a week after U.S. Air Force stealth fighters intercepted Russian Tu-95 bombers entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone , U.S. Raptors scrambled once again to conduct two intercepts of nuclear-capable Russian bombers in the same area.
F-22 Raptors, supported by KC-135 Stratotankers and an E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System, successfully completed two intercepts of Russian bomber aircraft formations, according to officials at North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
The first formation of Russian aircraft consisted of two Tu-95 bombers, accompanied by two Su-35 fighter jets and was supported by an A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft.
The second formation consisted of two Tu-95 bombers supported by an A-50. The Russian military aircraft came within 32 nautical miles of Alaskan shores; however, remained in international airspace and at no time did they enter United States sovereign airspace.
“For the eighth time this year, Russian military aircraft have penetrated our Canadian or Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zones and each and every time NORAD forces were ready to meet this challenge,” said General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, the NORAD Commander. “Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, NORAD constantly monitors the northern approaches to our nations and our operations make it clear that we will conduct homeland defense efforts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.”
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.
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.