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News | Aug. 6, 2020

NORAD takes to the skies over Toronto in Operation NOBLE EAGLE exercise

By Capt. Ken Jacobson, Canadian NORAD Region Public Affairs Canadian NORAD Region

On Thursday, July 30, 2020, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CF-18 Hornets and United States Air Force (USAF) F-16s along with a KC-135 refuelling tanker participated in a North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) training operation in the skies over the Greater Toronto Area.

As part of the Operation (Op) NOBLE EAGLE mission, focused on homeland defence of the airspace over Canada and the United States, the exercise consisted of fighters working with the Canadian Air Defence Sector (CADS) at 22 Wing North Bay, Ont. and civilian air traffic control in the Toronto area to practise aircraft identification and interception procedures in high-density airspace.

Developed after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Op NOBLE EAGLE is an extensive air defence effort developed by NORAD to protect against similar types of attacks within North American airspace.

“The exercise was a great success. It reinforced the importance of NORAD’s aerospace warning and control missions while providing military units and our civilian partners the valuable opportunity to practise binational and interagency coordination procedures necessary to act clearly and decisively in a potential crisis situation,” Major-General Eric Kenny, Commander, Canadian NORAD Region.

NORAD, which supports one of the most extensive and long-lasting binational defence relationships in the world, is an operational military alliance between Canada and United States charged with the mission of aerospace warning for North America. Aerospace warning includes the detection, validation, and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles.

Carefully planned in consult with civilian air traffic control partners to ensure continued safe air navigation services are maintained, NORAD conducts exercises such as this hundreds of times per year throughout Canada and the United States to ensure NORAD forces are ready to respond to aerospace threats anywhere in Canada and the United States.