PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Two F-16 fighter jets under the direction
of North American Aerospace Defense Command intercepted a general aviation
aircraft over Washington, D.C., today at approximately 11:30 a.m. MDT.
The Mooney M20C
aircraft departed from the Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport in Westfield,
Mass., and flew south into the special flight restricted area over Washington,
D.C., and was out of communications with air traffic controllers.
The aircraft was
escorted out of the restricted area and landed at a Mt. Airy, N.C., airport
where it was met by law enforcement officials.
mission – in close collaboration with homeland defense, security, and law
enforcement partners – is to prevent air attacks against North America,
safeguard the sovereign airspaces of the United States and Canada by responding
to unknown, unwanted and unauthorized air activity approaching and operating
within these airspaces, and provide aerospace and maritime warning for North
America. NORAD may be required to monitor, shadow, divert from flight path,
direct to land and/or destroy platforms deemed a potential threat to North
is the bi-national Canadian and American command that is responsible for the
air defense of North America and maritime warning. The command has three
subordinate regional headquarters: the Alaskan NORAD Region at Elmendorf Air
Force Base, Alaska; the Canadian NORAD Region at Winnipeg, Manitoba; and the
Continental NORAD Region at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.
The command is poised both tactically and
strategically in our nation’s capital to provide a multilayered defense to
detect, deter and prevent potential threats flying over the airspace of the
United States and Canada.