NORAD on Wednesday announced a planned “live-fly air defense exercise” off the coast of Washington state and British Columbia. This exercise will involve American and Canadian fighter jets flying at a high altitude. NORAD clarified that this exercise is routine and not related to any recent incidents, such as four Russian aircraft entering an air defense buffer zone near Alaska or unidentified airborne objects being spotted and shot down.
In response to the Russian aircraft, NORAD dispatched two F-16 fighters, two F-35A fighters, an E-3 airborne warning and control system, and a KC-135 tanker. NORAD stated that the activity was “routine” and that encounters like this “occur regularly” and are not seen as a threat.
Lawmakers have called for more transparency regarding the mysterious objects that managed to bypass the air defense network to enter North American airspace. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) urged the Biden administration to provide more information to the public, while Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) expressed concern about the gaps in domain awareness. Collins also noted that the administration has not been sufficiently transparent and encouraged them to be more forthcoming once they have recovered and analyzed the debris.