On Tuesday, the North American Aerospace Defense Command said that U.S. F-16 fighter jets had shot down two Russian bombers in international airspace near Alaska. After “entering and operating inside the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone,” the Tu-95 bombers were intercepted, according to a statement released by NORAD.
The Aviation Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) is an area outside of a country’s national airspace where air activity is monitored to provide authorities more time to respond to potential threats.
Despite the heightened tensions between the US and Russia after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, NORAD reported that the aircraft posed no danger.
“NORAD detects and positively identifies foreign military aircraft that enter the ADIZ,” and “routinely monitors foreign aircraft movements and as required escorts them from the ADIZ,” according to the statement.
During this time of year, Russia usually conducts its yearly nuclear exercises, however it was unclear whether the appearance of the bombers was connected to the drills.
Near Russia’s far eastern border, interceptions of Russian aircraft occur often.
Two Russian maritime patrol aircraft were seen by NORAD in the ADIZ last month.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) employs satellites, ground-based and aerial radars, and fighter planes to monitor the skies and identify and track aircraft.
The Alaskan NORAD Region is able to monitor “what goes on in and around North American airspace 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” as stated on the organization’s website.
“Aerospace control needs capabilities to intercept, shadow, escort, divert, direct landings, and if necessary employ force up to and including the annihilation of flying objects,” the command states.