For the second time in less than a week, the U.S. has intercepted Russian maritime surveillance aircraft in what’s known as the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone, military officials announced Saturday.
Two pairs of Tu-142 maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft were tracked and intercepted Saturday by Air Force F-22 Raptors, supported by KC-132 Stratotanker refueling aircraft and E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System planes.
“The Russian aircraft entered the ADIZ from the West and North of Alaska respectively,” officials with the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, said in a release. “The western pair of Tu-142s remained within the ADIZ for approximately 4 hours and loitered in the vicinity of the U.S. Navy’s ICEX where they are conducting submarine exercises. The Tu-142s were escorted by F-22s the entire time.” . . .
A pair of Tu-142s to the north spent only about 15 minutes in the zone, and also received an F-22 escort, officials said.
ICEX, which began March 5, is an Arctic preparedness exercise involving two U.S. Navy submarines, forces from five different countries and more than 100 participants. The exercise requires troops to set up a temporary camp on an ice floe and use the camp as a command center for submarine operations taking place below the ice, at temperatures averaging negative 27 degrees Fahrenheit. (Read more from “U.S. Fighters Catch Russian Spy Planes Near Alaska for 2nd Time in Days” HERE)