On Monday, March 9th, at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, the North American Aerospace Defense Command intercepted two Russian TU-142 maritime reconnaissance aircraft entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone.
The F-22s, CF-18s, supported by KC-135 Stratotanker and E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft, intercepted the Russian aircraft which entered and remained within the ADIZ north of Alaska for approximately 4 hours.
The TU-142s were escorted by NORAD fighter aircraft for the duration of their time in the ADIZ. They remained in international airspace over the Beaufort Sea, coming as close as 50 nautical miles to the Alaskan coast. They did not enter U.S. or Canadian sovereign airspace.
General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, NORAD Commander said, “NORAD continues to operate in the Arctic across multiple domains. As we continue to conduct exercises and operations in the north, we are driven by a single unyielding priority: defending the homelands.”
As a bi-national command, NORAD is focused on the defence of both the U.S. and Canada equally. The response to potential threats aims to not distinguish between the two nations, employing forces from both countries.
A layered defense network of radars, satellites, and fighter aircraft are deployed by NORAD to identify any aircraft and determine the appropriate response to those identified.