The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has revealed that Russian aircraft breached the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) twice in the past two days, according to a fresh statement.
The Alaskan NORAD "detected, tracked and identified Russian surveillance aircraft entering and operating within" the zone off the Alaskan coast, according to an offical statement posted to Twitter.
While the ADIZ is not considered technically part of US airspace, it is airspace over which the US requires identification and tracking of aircraft in the interest of national security, which acts as a buffer before planes enter national airspace proper.
On this point, NORAD noted that "The Russian aircraft did not enter American or Canadian sovereign airspace."
Importantly, this is the first time NORAD has recorded a large Russian surveillance plane breach throughout the six months of the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine, which means it comes as tensions between Washington and Moscow are dangerously heightened. "The last time NORAD announced such a breach was in October 2021, when five Russian aircraft entered the zone," The Hill has underscored.
There was an early summer incident where two Russian IL-38 maritime patrol aircraft aircraft came near Alaska. However, the US military at the time said that particular incident was less provocative or worrisome that prior nuclear-capable bomber or spy plane flights.
Russian aircraft entering the zone typically results in NORAD scrambling aircraft to shadow the nearby foreign military planes and warn them away. In prior years Russian long-range bombers have flown near the Russian coast, placing US defenses on alert.
On two separate occasions, over the past 2 days, the Alaskan NORAD Region detected, tracked and identified Russian surveillance aircraft entering and operating within the Alaskan ADIZ. The Russian aircraft did not enter American or Canadian sovereign airspace. #WeHaveTheWatch— North American Aerospace Defense Command (@NORADCommand) August 10, 2022
As Military.com has reviewed of past incidents, "The ADIZ surrounds the United States and Canada, stretching west of Alaska to cover the Semichi Islands, south of Russia. It's jointly defended by both countries, and foreign aircraft are not permitted to fly alone in ADIZ airspace without authorization."