U.S. warplanes intercepted four Russian reconnaissance aircraft near Alaska, marking thethis month, U.S. commanders said. The Russian Tu-142's came within 65 nautical miles south of Alaska's Aleutian island chain and "loitered" in the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) for eight hours on Saturday.
But they stayed in international airspace and did not enter U.S. or Canadian airspace, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said on Twitter. NORAD posted video of the Russian aircraft, which were intercepted by F-22s.
An ADIZ is a perimeter within which air traffic is monitored by the air forces of one or more friendly countries so they have extra time to react to hostile action.
The U.S. has established four of these zones but a dozen or so other countries have also set their own up.
This was the sixth time in a month that U.S. planes have intercepted Russian aircraft near Alaska and the 10th incident off Alaska or Canada this year, according to NORAD. Late Wednesday, two Russian aircraft came within 50 miles of Alaska's Aleutian chain were intercepted.
Capt. Cameron Hillier, a NORAD spokesperson, said that since Russia resumed long-range aviation activities in 2007, there has been an average of around seven intercepts a year, though the number in any given year has been zero to 15.
On May 29, the Russian defense ministry published images of two US B-1 bombers intercepted by Russia after flying over the Baltic and Black seas near Russia.