U.S. fighter planes intercepted two Russian IL-38 aircraft, like this one, off the coast of Russia Wednesday. Photo via Wikimedia Commons
June 25 (UPI) -- North American Aerospace Defense Command F-22s intercepted two Russian IL-38 maritime patrol aircraft in the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone Thursday, according to NORAD.
The Russian aircraft came within 50 miles of Unimak Island, which is part of the Aleutian island chain, but remained in the sky and did not enter American airspace, according to NORAD.
"For the fifth time this month, NORAD has demonstrated our readiness and ability to defend the homeland by intercepting Russian military aircraft entering our ADIZ," said NORAD Commander General Terrence O'Shaughnessy.
"The mission assurance measures we are taking to protect our people ensure we are meeting the challenges and operating through the COVID-19 environment to defend our nations, just as NORAD forces have for more than 60 years."
On June 10, NORAD aircraft intercepted two waves of Russian bombers within miles of Russian airspace. And six days later, on June 16, U.S. fighter planes intercepted eight Russian military aircraft flying near Alaska in two separate incidents.
This week's interception marks the ninth incidence of Russian aircraft near the U.S. border in 2020.
The 55-mile-wide Bering Strait separates Russia and Alaska, and the United States considers all space within 12 miles of the coastline sovereign territory.
The U.S. and Russian militaries have posted photos or videos of previous recent interceptions, but neither military has posted images of this week's incident.
The F-22s were assisted by a K-135 Stratotanker from U.S. Transportation Command, NORAD said.