US F-22 stealth fighter jets intercept Russian patrol aircraft near Alaska

The U.S. military scrambled F-22 stealth fighter jets to intercept a pair of Russian patrol aircraft flying near Alaska Wednesday, the commander of NORAD said on “Fox & Friends”.

“We’re ready 24/7,” on alert for these missions, Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy said.

“The Russian [IL-38] aircraft were intercepted in the Bering Sea, north of the Aleutian Islands, and did not enter United States or Canadian sovereign airspace,”  NORAD said in a statement.

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The IL-38 is a long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft used to hunt for American submarines.

The Russian planes flew within 50 miles off the coast of Alaska, Gen. O’Shaughnessy said.

“Our crews are ready,” the general added. “We are always ready to defend our great country.”

In this Monday, March 9, 2020 photo released by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), a Russian Tu-142 maritime reconnaissance aircraft, top right, is intercepted near the Alaska coastline. U.S. and Canadian aircraft intercepted and escorted two Russian jets that flew over the Beaufort Sea near the Alaska coastline, military officials said Tuesday.

In this Monday, March 9, 2020 photo released by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), a Russian Tu-142 maritime reconnaissance aircraft, top right, is intercepted near the Alaska coastline. U.S. and Canadian aircraft intercepted and escorted two Russian jets that flew over the Beaufort Sea near the Alaska coastline, military officials said Tuesday. (North American Aerospace Defense Command via AP)

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Asked by Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade why the Russians would fly a mission so close to the United States during the novel coronavirus outbreak, O’Shaughnessy replied, “They wanted to see if we are able to react.”

Three weeks ago, the Russians flew a similar mission near Alaska while the Navy was conducting an arctic training mission with two submarines.

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The U.S. military routinely flies reconnaissance aircraft, fighter jets and bombers near Russia as well normally in the Black and Baltic Seas.