(CNN) — US F-22 fighter jets intercepted four Russian Tu-142 reconnaissance aircraft Saturday entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), NORAD said in a statement.
Saturday’s intercept follows similar encounters earlier this month in which US F-22 jets intercepted Russian nuclear-capable bombers near Alaska on three separate occasions. The last previous one was Wednesday when US F-22 fighter jets intercepted two Russian IL-38 maritime patrol aircraft entering the Alaskan Zone late Wednesday.
NORAD also said the Russian aircraft came within 65 nautical miles south of the Alaskan Aleutian island chain and loitered in the ADIZ for nearly eight hours. It added the Russians remained in international airspace and at no time entered US or Canadian sovereign airspace.
“This year alone, NORAD forces have identified and intercepted Russian military aircraft including bombers, fighters, and maritime patrol aircraft on ten separate occasions when they have flown into the ADIZ,” said NORAD commander Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy.
“Despite COVID-19, we remain fully ready and capable of conducting our no-fail mission of homeland defense,” he said.