Two U.S. F-22 fighter jets intercepted Russian reconnaissance planes near Alaska on Wednesday night, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) announced.
NORAD Command tweeted the intercept Thursday:
"F-22 fighters, supported by KC-135 Stratotanker and E-3 AWACS aircraft from the North American Aerospace Defense Command intercepted two Russian IL-38 aircraft entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone on April 8th, 2020."
The Russian planes were intercepted over the Bering Sea, north of the Aleutian Islands and did not enter U.S. or Canadian sovereign airspace, according to NORAD.
"COVID-19 or not, NORAD continues actively watching for threats and defending the homelands 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year," Gen. Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, NORAD Commander, said in a statement.
"This is the latest of several occasions in the past month in which we have intercepted Russian aircraft operating near the approaches to our nations. We continue to execute our no-fail homeland defense missions with the same capability and capacity we always bring to the fight.
The Russian planes were testing to see how the U.S. would react, O'Shaughnessy told Fox News on Thursday.
Russian reconnaissance planes were also intercepted flying over a U.S. Navy submarine ice breaching exercise area in the Arctic Ocean in March.
The Russian IL-38 aircraft are equipped for both maritime patrol and anti-submarine operations, according to American Military News.
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