The US North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) announced that US F-22 Raptor fighter jets intercepted a large group of Russian military planes a mere 30 miles off Alaska's coast early Wednesday morning.
Though such intercepts over the Bering Sea and near Alaska have occurred on a near monthly basis recently, what makes this particular incident notable is that it included no less than eight Russian warplanes coming near Alaska.
A half dozen Su-35 fighters and a Beriev A-50 surveillance aircraft were reportedly escorting two long range Tu-95 bombers, according to multiple reports. The intercept incidents appeared to have been in two waves.
The incident was further confirmed via Russian Defense Ministry video.
The US Raptor intercept is shown starting at the :45 mark...
#Footage Four #Tu95MS strategic missile carriers of the #RussianASF performed an 11-hour scheduled flight over the neutral waters of the Chukchi Sea, Bering Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk and the Northern Pacific https://t.co/lJh8dIcEFc #RussianAirForce #LongRangeAviation #USAirForce pic.twitter.com/AjCSEFeXDh— Минобороны России (@mod_russia) June 10, 2020
NORAD also tweeted that “North American Aerospace Defense Command F-22 Raptors, supported by KC-135 Stratotankers and E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System, completed two intercepts of Russian Bomber formations entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone early this morning.”
Typically such intercepts include a couple planes on either side, but in this instance a lot of aircraft in the air and near each other at once, also surprisingly close to the Alaskan shoreline.
NORAD Commander Air Force Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy noted US force readiness at a moment Russia appears to be increasingly brazen in testing NORAD's potential vulnerabilities.
NORAD intercepts Russian bombers in the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone on June 10th, 2020. pic.twitter.com/XABO23aGpA— North American Aerospace Defense Command (@NORADCommand) June 10, 2020
“Intercepting multiple Russian aircraft demonstrates NORAD forces’ readiness and capability to defend the homelands 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year,” the commander said.
“Flying air patrols protects the approaches to our nations and sends a clear message we continue executing our homeland defense missions with the same capability and capacity we always bring to the fight,” he added.