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Homeland Security

Air Force officials scramble F-16s in response of unruly air passenger

1/11/2010 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) -- Two F-16 Fighting Falcons under the direction of Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region officials launched at 11:44 a.m. Jan. 8 in response to reports of an unruly passenger aboard AirTran Flight 39 from Atlanta bound for San Francisco.

The fighters arrived overhead of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport in Colorado as the pilot of the commercial airliner landed the Boeing 737 safely at approximately noon, where the plane was met by law enforcement officials.

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 officials may be required to monitor, shadow, divert from flight path, direct to land or destroy platforms deemed a potential threat to North America.

NORAD is the binational 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 AFB, Fla. The command is poised tactically and strategically in the 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.

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