US intercepts Russian aircraft

The Pentagon said these types of flights are not considered a threat

Eric Garcia
Friday 03 May 2024 20:44 BST
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The North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) intercepted a Russian aircraft that intercepted US airspace on Thursday evening, the command said in a statement.

The aircraft reportedly penetrated North America’s Air Defense Identification Zone, Norad said in a statement.

“While the Russian air assets at no time violated US or Canadian airspace, integrated air defence assets in and around ANR and CANR were able to detect, intercept and identify a number of the Russian Tu-95 Bear heavy bombers participating in an annual Russian air force exercise near the coast of Alaska and Canada,” said Maj Gen Brett Cairns, Norad director of operations.

Norad launched F-15 fighter aircraft out of the Alaskan Norad Region off the state’s west coast and CF-18 fighters off the Canadian Norad Region, though Maj Gen Cairns said they were not necessary for the interception.

“While this response to the Russian bombers shows how Norad continues to monitor the air approaches to North America, Norad mission also focuses on airspace within North America,” it said. “Since September 11, 2001, Norad has scrambled or diverted more than 2,200 times to execute its aerospace control mission for North America.”

The Pentagon confirmed in a statement that four Russian aircraft went into the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone.

“The Russian aircraft remained in international airspace and did not enter American or Canadian sovereign airspace,” it said in a statement. The Pentagon said this type of Russian activity occurs regularly and is not considered a threat.

“An ADIZ begins where sovereign airspace ends and is a defined stretch of international airspace that requires the ready identification of all aircraft in the interest of national security,” it said. “Norad employs a layered defence network of satellites, ground-based and airborne radars and fighter aircraft to detect and track aircraft and inform appropriate actions. Norad remains ready to employ a number of response options in defence of North America.”

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