Two American F-16 fighter jets intercepted four Russian aircraft near Alaska, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said Tuesday.
NORAD said it “detected, tracked, positively identified and intercepted four Russian aircraft entering and operating within the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)” on Monday.
The Russian aircraft included a Tu-95 bomber and Su-35 fighter aircraft.
However, the Russian aircraft remained in international airspace and did not enter American or Canadian sovereign airspace. NORAD said that “Russian activity in the North American ADIZ occurs regularly and is not seen as a threat, nor is the activity seen as provocative.”
The joint US-Canadian defense command said it “anticipated” this Russian activity and was prepared to intercept it.
NORAD added that it assessed that this “Russian flight activity is in no way related to recent NORAD and US Northern Command operations associated with airborne objects over North America during the last two weeks.”
US fighter jets shot down a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina’s coast on February 4. The balloon had spent a week flying over the US before President Joe Biden ordered it be downed. Beijing denies that it was a government spy tool.
Three other officially unidentified objects have been shot down between February 10 and 12.