U.S. AIR FORCE F-15 EAGLES GO SUPERSONIC OVER WEST PALM BEACH RESIDENTIAL AREA TO INTERCEPT AN UNRESPONSIVE GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT

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The intercept required the Air Force F-15s to travel at supersonic speeds

On Feb. 17, 2017, a pair of U.S. Air Force (USAF) F-15 Eagles, under the direction of North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) Command, intercepted an unresponsive general aviation aircraft near the Palm Beach, Fla., area at approximately 7 p.m. EST.

According to NORAD press-release, the intercept required the Air Force F-15s from Homestead Air National Guard Base to travel at supersonic speeds, a sound noticed by area residents, to get to the general aviation aircraft where they were able to establish communications.

The intent of military intercepts is to have the identified aircraft re-establish communications with local Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic controllers and instruct the pilot to follow air traffic controllers’ instructions to land safely for follow-on action.

NORAD’s mission – in close collaboration with homeland defense, security, and law enforcement partners – is to prevent air attacks against North America, safeguard the sovereign airspaces of the United States and Canada by responding to unknown, unwanted and unauthorized air activity approaching and operating within these airspaces, and provide aerospace and maritime warning for North America. NORAD may be required to monitor, shadow, divert from flight path, direct to land and/or destroy platforms deemed a potential threat to North America.

NORAD is the bi-national Canadian and American command that is responsible for the air defense of North America and maritime warning. The command has three subordinate regional headquarters: the Alaskan NORAD Region at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska; the Canadian NORAD Region at Winnipeg, Manitoba; and the Continental NORAD Region at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. The command is poised both tactically and strategically in our nation’s capital to provide a multilayered defense to detect, deter and prevent potential threats flying over the airspace of the United States and Canada.

Photo credit: Josh Plueger and Airman 1st Class Lauren M. Johnson / U.S. Air Force