PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (June 17, 2010) North American Aerospace Defense Command will conduct multiple exercise flights next week in the skies in the vicinity of northern West Virginia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Va. People may hear and see NORAD fighter aircraft in close proximity with DOD-contracted general aviation aircraft as they practice their intercept and identification procedures.
This exercise has been carefully planned and will be closely controlled to ensure the safety of the exercise and those participants in the area of operations. The exercise will test NORADs air sovereignty alert sites rapid response capability to an aerospace threat.
NORAD has conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout the U.S. and Canada since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the commands response to the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001. Each exercise flight utilizes a scenario to test NORADs response, systems and equipment. Scenarios could include counter-drug operations, aircraft in distress, aircraft defecting, hijacking, unknown aircraft, Dangerous Military Activity, Temporary Flight Restriction violation or airborne terrorist.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, NORAD fighters have responded to more than 3,300 possible air threats in Canada and the United States.
Source: Northern Command (NORTHCOM)
For more information about NORAD intercept procedures, refer to this Federal Aviation Administration link: