NORAD,the North American Aerospace and Defense Command,along with its close partner and fellow combatant command US Strategic Command,conducted a day of joint,comprehensive intercept and safe passage exercises in all three of the NORAD regions with a broad range of warplanes on 1 August 2016,the command revealed in a press release.The carefully planned and controlled drills ensured NORAD's rapid response capability.Normally,only one intercept at a time is conducted with only one type of interceptor and bomber involved.This test injected more layers of complexity by varying types of aircraft,commands involved,location and nationality.The scenario was a more realistic simulation of what an actual attack by a sophisticated enemy would be like.*
In these exercises,US Strategic Command B-52H Stratofortess and B-2 Spirit bombers conducted flights through each of the NORAD regions that were intercepted by three types of fighter aircraft:
2 F-22 Raptors in the Alaska NORAD Region,based at Elmendorf Air Force Base,Alaska;
2 CF-18 Hornets in the Canadian NORAD Region,based at Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg,Manitoba;and
2 F-15 Eagles in the Continental United States NORAD Region,based at Tyndall Air Foce Base,Florida.*
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter noted that the bomber flights provided NORAD with an excellent opportunity to hone our air defence capabilities,while also allowing us the opportunity to closely coordinate operations with our allies and the geographic combatant commands.*
Our ability to conduct intercept and safe passage escort procedures to coincide with American flights reinforces Canada's outstanding collaboration and interoperability with our closest ally.Canada and the US continue to expand on our close partnership,added Canada's Minister of National Defence Harjit S. Sajjan.*
The intercepts honed Operation Noble Eagle's procedures,cross-border interoperability and coordination,and to reinforce the enduring defence relationship between the US and Canada.
NORAD is the binational Canada-US command that provides aerospace warning,aerospace control and maritime warning for Canada and the US,NORAD explained.*
Operation Noble Eagle has guided the joint Canadian-US defence of North American airspace since the 9-11 attacks on the US by al-Qaida.