NORAD conducts air defense exercise days after Russian aircraft intercepted over Alaska, objects shot down

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said Wednesday it is carrying out a “live-fly air defense exercise” off the coast of Washington state and British Columbia, just days after it intercepted Russian aircraft near Alaska and multiple airborne objects were shot down.  The four Russian planes were detected and intercepted over the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone on Monday in what NORAD called a “routine” incident. As part of Wednesday’s exercise, a variety of American and Canadian planes, “including fighter aircraft, will operate at high altitude,” it said.  But NORAD added that the training is “in no way related to recent NORAD and U.S. Northern Command operations associated with airborne objects over North America during the last two weeks.”  RUSSIAN MILITARY AIRCRAFT INTERCEPTED NEAR ALASKA, NORAD SAYS  “To test responses, systems and equipment, NORAD routinely conducts air defense exercises using a variety of scenarios, including airspace restriction violations, hijackings and responding to unknown aircraft,” it also said.  A U.S. defense official told Fox News on Wednesday that the exercise has been planned for months.  The U.S. recently has shot down three objects, including a Chinese spy balloon near South Carolina.  NO NEW ‘OBJECTS’ REPORTED IN THE LAST 48 HOURS, PENTAGON SAYS  Two F-16 fighter jets were dispatched by NORAD to intercept the Russian aircraft Monday, which included a TU-95 BEARH-H and SU-35 fighter jet. NORAD also sent out two F-35A fighters, an E-3 Sentry, and two KC-135 Stratotankers to assist.  “Russian aircraft remained in international airspace and did not enter American or Canadian sovereign airspace. This Russian activity in the North American ADIZ occurs regularly and is not seen as a threat, nor is the activity seen as provocative,” NORAD said Tuesday in a statement. Since 2007, Russian aircraft have been intercepted in the North American ADIZ six to seven times a year. The latest incursion comes amid increased tensions between Russia and the West over the war in Ukraine. Two Dutch F-35s intercepted Russian military aircraft near Polish airspace on Monday, according to defense officials.  Fox News’ Liz Friden and Paul Best contributed to this report. 
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