Air Force Jets Intercept 4 Russian Aircraft Off Alaska: NORAD
NORAD has announced Tuesday that it scrambled jets to intercept four inbound Russian military aircraft near American airspace off Alaska the day prior.
"The Alaskan Region of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) detected, tracked, positively identified and intercepted four Russian aircraft entering and operating within the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Feb.13, 2023," an official statement reads.
The response included a pair of US F-16 fighter jets, assisted by two more F-35A fighters, an E-3 Sentry, and two KC-135 Stratotankers, all of which were sent to intercept the Russian aircraft, which included among the the four aircraft a Tupolev Tu-95 "Bear" long range bomber and SU-35 fighter jet.
But interestingly, NORAD called the incident "routine" - given it has happened an estimated six to seven times a year on average over the past decade or more. Additionally, no breach of actual US airspace was reported by the Russian planes, just the outlying ADIZ.
"Russian aircraft remained in international airspace and did not enter American or Canadian sovereign airspace. This Russian activity in the North American ADIZ occurs regularly and is not seen as a threat, nor is the activity seen as provocative," the statement continued.
However, currently there are heightened tensions with Russia related to the Ukraine war, but also given the unusual spate of 'unidentified object' shootdowns by US fighters over the last week - two of which were in far northern regions, including northeastern Alaska and Canada's Yukon territory.