NORAD takes to the skies over Toronto in Operation Noble Eagle exercise

On Thursday, July 30, 2020, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CF-188 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.

An RCAF CF-188 conducts air-to-air refuelling from a United States Air Force KC-135 tanker during the binational NORAD air defence exercise over the Greater Toronto Area on July 30, 2020. CANR Public Affairs Photo

As part of the Operation 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.

An RCAF CF-188 Hornet, along with a pair of USAF F-16s, over Toronto conducting a NORAD training exercise for Operation Noble Eagle. CANR Public Affairs Photo

“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,” MGen 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.


Toronto’s downtown core is seen in the background in this photo of a CF-188 Hornet. CANR Public Affairs Photo

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.

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