US Fighters Intercept Russian Warplanes Near Alaskan Shore

US says 14th interception of Russian planes this year

NORAD reported that US F-22s intercepted a group of Russian warplanes some 30 miles off the coast from Alaska. The Russian planes included Tu-95 bombers, and Su-35 escort fighterd. A Russian A-50 command aircraft was also reported in the area.

NORAD confirmed that at no time did the planes enter US airspace, adding that this was the 14th interception by US aircraft in 2020. That’s quite a few, but Russia almost certainly intercepted US planes more often around the Black Sea.

It is not uncommon, since the Cold War, for the US and Russia to test one another’s defensive systems with near-overflights. There is always a risk with the nuclear powers that a miscue in one of these interceptions could turn into a big war-starting incident.

Despite the risk of a misunderstanding, both the US and Russia continue to carry out these flights on a regular basis. The expectation is always an interception, but both sides tend to view them as unwelcome provocations.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.