NORAD Completes Operation Noble Defender

To demonstrate its capabilities and readiness to defend Canada and the United States, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) recently completed Operation NOBLE DEFENDER.

Taking place between Jan. 15-31, Operation NOBLE DEFENDER was held in several locations across the Arctic and the coasts of the United States and Canada. Approximately 225 American and Canadian personnel took part.

THULE AIR BASE, Greenland – Royal Canadian Air Force servicemembers install communications equipment on the flightline in support of Operation NOBLE DEFENDER at Thule Air Base, Greenland, March 16, 2022. Participants used the equipment to facilitate discussion between the command center and aircraft during the four-day event. (Royal Canadian Air Force photo by Master Cpl Steeve Picard)

“Our ability to operate in the Arctic is critical to our ability to defend our homelands,” said General Glen VanHerck, Commander North American Aerospace Defense Command and US Northern Command. “Operation NOBLE DEFENDER successfully demonstrated our willingness and capability to conduct operations above the Arctic Circle in even the harshest weather conditions, and proved a concept of integration with key Arctic partners to defend northern approaches to North America.”

From Greenland to Alaska

American and Canadian personnel from all three NORAD regions deployed to regions from Greenland to Alaska for Operation NOBLE DEFENDER.

The specific locations include: Thule Air Base, Greenland; Iqaluit Forward Operation Location, Nunavut; 5 Wing Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador; and Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.

) THULE AIR BASE, Greenland – U.S. Air Force KC-135 Tankers conduct air-to-air refueling operations near Thule Air Base, Greenland, March 14, 2022, as part of Operation NOBLE DEFENDER. Our network of allied relationships and capabilities strengthens our collective deterrent against strategic competitors. (Royal Canadian Air Force photo by Master Cpl Steeve Picard)

This iteration of the operation was the first time NORAD deployed F-35s to Thule, Greenland. A press release from NORAD signified “the agility of capabilities in support of Arctic defense with support from the Kingdom of Denmark to allow air defense operations from this location.”

The 225 personnel deployed on the Operation operated various aircraft such as four F-35s, three CF-18s, four KC-135s, one CC-150, one E-3, and one CH-149.

As part of the operation, NORAD fighters simulated an exercise to demonstrate their skills to intercept threats. In this case, a U.S. Strategic Command B-52 represented a threat platform. According to NORAD, CF-18s escorted the U.S. bomber as it was transiting through northern Canada and the central United States.

THULE AIR BASE, Greenland – THULE AIR BASE, Greenland – A Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet makes its approach for takeoff during Operation NOBLE DEFENDER at Thule Air Base, Greenland, March 13, 2022. NOBLE DEFENDER seeks to support a variety of campaign objectives demonstrating the ability to defend North America. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Carlos Ferran)

A Recurring Exercise

The press release noted NOBLE DEFENDER is a recurring NORAD air defence operation that takes place throughout the year. The purpose is to maintain mission readiness in different environments.

“As a joint operation, NOBLE DEFENDER demonstrated collaboration with mission partners and interoperability to defend the entirety of our northern approaches, as well as the necessity of our forces to integrate our efforts to defend North America,” stated a press release.

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Cyndi Mills - Owner | Publisher CMF Magazine

Admittedly the Queen of Typos, Cyndi Mills strives for none, but one or two always seems to slip in. She apologizes! Over the last 29 years Cyndi has had the opportunity to move around the country with her husband, Scott and their four children. Having lived in Chilliwack, Edmonton, London, and Petawawa. She stumbled into the world of journalism by accident – looking for a career that could give her the flexibility to work from home to be with her children and support her husband's military career. Cyndi is also a military parent as her two oldest children are in the military. Raising her third and fourth teenagers, she tries to keep sane by walking, gardening, writing, and spending time with her family while running Canadian Military Family Magazine.

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