Russian Warplanes Tracked And Intercepted Off Alaskan Coast

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According to a report in the Washington Times, jet fighters assigned to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) intercepted six Russian military aircraft off the coast of Alaska last week. The joint U.S.-Canadian defenses detected and tracked the Russian aircraft, which were breaching the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

NORAD reported that, while the Russians got close enough to scramble U.S. aircraft in response, they did not penetrate Canadian or U.S. airspace. The Russian military aircraft included Tupolev Tu-95 bombers, Ilyushin IL-78 tankers and Sukhoi Su-35 fighters. NORAD scrambled F-16 and F-22 fighters, KC-135 tankers and E-3 AWACS command and control aircraft to intercept the Russian aircraft.

According to NORAD, “This Russian activity in the North American ADIZ occurs regularly and is not seen as a threat. NORAD tracks and positively identifies all military aircraft that enter the ADIZ, routinely monitors aircraft movement, and as necessary, escorts them from the ADIZ.”

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Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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17 COMMENTS

  1. “According to NORAD, “This Russian activity in the North American ADIZ occurs regularly and is not seen as a threat. NORAD tracks and positively identifies all military aircraft that enter the ADIZ, routinely monitors aircraft movement, and as necessary, escorts them from the ADIZ.”

    Hostile bombers and fighters not a threat?! WTF constitutes a threat?

    • This has been going on since the beginning of the Cold War. A lot of countries test the defensive response of their enemies without breaching their national airspace, and this sort of thing hardly constitutes a crisis. People really need to study their history before flipping out. And, why add the “WTF”? Use some restraint.

  2. Do we do the same? Although fighters, bombers, and fuel “trucks” does seem like overkill in the testing arena. IMHO

  3. This has been happening several times a year for the past half century (that I can recall). They probe our defences, we probe theirs. In the past it only made the national news if one of the Russkis held up a Pepsi bottle or Playboy centerfold in the window. Why is this event more notable? Are there more aircraft involved than in previous intercepts?

    • I can’t be sure, but the complement of aircraft suggests a stack that may (or may not) be abnormal.

  4. Make sure you confirm anything published by the Wasington Times. It’s had some challenges with accurate reporting in the past.

  5. Well, with 1,000,000 Russian soldiers marching to the Polish border, Russia is doing their normal probing on us. Frequencies, equipment, systems, etc… Got to be on it. It could be worst considering WWIII is at the verge of happening…

    • If Russia has a million troops to spare, why not have them march to Ukraine? And, considering the beating Russia has taken in military hardware in Ukraine, they would probably have to walk there instead of riding.

  6. This old Cold Warrior cannot recall having Soviet FIGHTERS along the US coast, just bomber/long-range recon types (Bears and the like). From where did they launch? That must have been an operation like our El Dorado Canyon raid on Libya in 1986 to get fighters all the way across the Pacific. Or did they come off a Russian aircraft carrier near our shore?

    • That’s probably why they brought along a tanker to refuel the fighters. According to what I have read, Russia only has one aircraft carrier and it is not operational. This does sound like a little more than the usual probe and observe action we’ve seen in the past, though. Maybe some more of Putin’s saber rattling?

  7. It’s a good thing that we scrambled our “jet fighters” for the intercept instead of a couple of our “piston fighters”.

    • Seriously, I’m pretty sure the USAF has turbines on their lawn mowers. They REALLY do not like piston engines.

  8. For somepeople who don’tb know geography, US (Alaska) and Russia are geographically very close together and their corresponding ADIZs actually overlap.

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