In order to test responses, systems and equipment, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) continuously conducts aircraft intercept exercises with a variety of scenarios, including airspace restriction violations, hijackings and responding to unknown aircraft. All NORAD exercises are carefully planned and closely controlled.
One of these routine exercises was performed in December 2012, NORAD practiced intercept and identification procedures over Louisiana, off the coast of New Orleans. The military routinely warns the general public in advance that they may hear or see fighter jets in close proximity to a military or military contracted aircraft that will be taking on the role of an intercepted 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.
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