The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) confirmed that F-22 planes and a KC-135 Stratotanker intercepted two Russian Il-38 aircraft about 50 miles from Alaskan territory. They were flying through the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), according to the department.
“The Russian aircraft came within 50 miles of Unimak Island along the Aleutian island chain, spending approx. four hours in the ADIZ before exiting. The Il-38s remained in international airspace and at no time did the aircraft enter United States or Canadian sovereign airspace,” it added.
The U.S. intercept continues a trend of increased Russian military activity near Alaska. Out of nine intercepts near Alaska in 2020, five of them occurred in the past three weeks.
“For the fifth time this month, NORAD has demonstrated our readiness and ability to defend the homeland by intercepting Russian military aircraft entering our ADIZ,” said Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the head of NORAD, in a statement.
He said the measures taken by the military “ensure we are meeting the challenges and operating through the COVID-19 environment to defend our nations, just as NORAD forces have for more than 60 years,” referring to the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.
Last week, F-22 Raptors along with a KC-135 Stratotanker and E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft intercepted Russian planes and jets in two incidents. A week prior to that, F-22 Raptors intercepted two Russian bomber formations.
At the time, the Russian Ministry of Defense posted a video online of their planes taking the planned flight before they were intercepted by the U.S. fighter jets.
The ministry confirmed the U.S. intercept of its aircraft.
“At certain stages of the route, Russian planes were escorted by the U.S. Air Force F-22 fighters,” the ministry said, noting that the flight lasted for about 11 hours, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.
And in May, the U.S. military said two Russian Su-35 fighter jets flew in an unprofessional and potentially unsafe manner while trying to intercept a Navy spy plane over the Mediterranean Sea.