US F-22 stealth fighter jets intercept Russian patrol aircraft near Alaska as NORAD general says they 'wanted to see if we were able to react' amid the coronavirus pandemic

US F-22 fighter jets have intercepted two Russian IL-38 aircraft entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone, as officials say 'they wanted to see if we are able to react' amid the coronavirus pandemic. 
The US Air Force jets, supported by a KC-135 Stratotanker and E-3 AWACS aircraft, made the interception on Wednesday in the Bering Sea.
The Russian aircraft were spotted north of the Aleutian Islands and did not enter United States or Canadian sovereign airspace, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
US F-22 fighter jets intercepted two Russian IL-38 aircraft entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone on Wednesday. The last interception occurred March 9 (pictured)
US F-22 fighter jets intercepted two Russian IL-38 aircraft entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone on Wednesday. The last interception occurred March 9 (pictured)
'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,' NORAD Commander said General Terrence J. O'Shaughnessy, said in a statement.
'This is the latest of several occasions in the past month in which we have intercepted Russian aircraft operating near Alaska and the approaches to our nations.
'We are and will continue executing our no-fail homeland defense missions with the same capability and capacity we always bring to the fight.'
Last month two NORAD planes, which included American F-22 stealth fighters and Canadian F-18 jets, escorted two Russian Tu-142s during their four-hour flight.
O'Shaughnessy said that amid the coronavirus pandemic: 'They wanted to see if we are able to react are we prepared or impacted by the virus. Do we have any vulnerabilities'
O'Shaughnessy said that amid the coronavirus pandemic: 'They wanted to see if we are able to react are we prepared or impacted by the virus. Do we have any vulnerabilities'
In this March 9 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
In this March 9 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 in March that the Russian jets never left international airspace but did come within 50 nautical miles - or 57 miles - of Alaska's northern coast at one point.
Russian fighters coming this close to North America is common, averaging up to seven times a year since Russia began the practice again in 2007.
The US also flies bombers near Russian airspace in the Baltic and Black Seas.
O'Shaughnessy spoke to Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade Wednesday.
When asked why the Russians would fly a mission so close to the United States after the COVID-19 outbreak, O'Shaughnessy replied, 'They wanted to see if we are able to react are we prepared or impacted by the virus. Do we have any vulnerabilities.' 
Russia had reported 10,131 coronavirus cases by Thursday afternoon and 76 related deaths.
In the US there were more than 363,800 cases and 15,700 deaths.
US F-22 stealth fighter jets intercept Russian patrol aircraft near Alaska as NORAD general says they 'wanted to see if we were able to react' amid the coronavirus pandemic US F-22 stealth fighter jets intercept Russian patrol aircraft near Alaska as NORAD general says they 'wanted to see if we were able to react' amid the coronavirus pandemic Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 07:43 Rating: 5

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