The skies above the western Upper Peninsula may be fairly active Thursday as the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) conducts exercise flights. The exercise will continue from Thursday morning to early afternoon as the military practices intercept and identification procedures. Exercise flights will take place near Ontonagon, and in the southeastern states of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
People in the areas between Isle Royale National Park and the Ottawa National Forest, to include Ontonagon, may hear and/or see NORAD-controlled fighter jets. These could be in close proximity to military or military contracted aircraft, which will be taking on the role of Tracks of Interest (TOI).
NORAD says these exercises are carefully planned, closely controlled and include exercising the team’s response to airspace restriction violations, hijackings and responding to unknown aircraft.
NORAD has conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout Canada and the U.S. since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command’s response to the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001.
NORAD is the bi-national Canadian and American command that provides maritime warning, aerospace warning and aerospace defense for Canada and the United States. The command has three subordinate regional headquarters: the Alaskan NORAD Region at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska; the Canadian NORAD Region at Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg, Manitoba; and the Continental NORAD Region at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.