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Thule Air Base Hosts Operation NOBLE DEFENDER

U.S. Air Force KC-10 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)

U.S. Air Force KC-10 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)

Royal Canadian Air Force crew chiefs conduct towing procedures for a CF-18 Hornet during Operation NOBLE DEFENDER at Thule Air Base, Greenland, March 16, 2022.

THULE AIR BASE, Greenland – Royal Canadian Air Force crew chiefs conduct towing procedures for a CF-18 Hornet during Operation NOBLE DEFENDER at Thule Air Base, Greenland, March 16, 2022. CF-18 pilots intercepted aircraft role-playing as threats. (Royal Canadian Air Force photo by Master Cpl Steeve Picard)

A Royal Canadian Air Force C-17 ascends from the airfield at Thule Air Base, Greenland, during Operation NOBLE DEFENDER, March 16, 2022.

THULE AIR BASE, Greenland – A Royal Canadian Air Force C-17 ascends from the airfield at Thule Air Base, Greenland, during Operation NOBLE DEFENDER, March 16, 2022. Canadian and American forces under North American Aerospace Defense Command focus on facilitating economic development, foster regional cooperation on shared challenges, and ensure a stable, conflict-free Arctic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Carlos Ferran)

American and Canadian servicemembers refuel a Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet at Thule Air Base, Greenland, March 15, 2022, during Operation NOBLE DEFENDER.

THULE AIR BASE, Greenland – American and Canadian servicemembers refuel a Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet at Thule Air Base, Greenland, March 15, 2022, during Operation NOBLE DEFENDER. North American Aerospace Defense Command is a United States and Canadian bi-national command charged with three missions: aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Carlos Ferran)

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.

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)

Two Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornets await flying missions during Operation NOBLE DEFENDER at Thule Air Base, Greenland, March 15, 2022.

THULE AIR BASE, Greenland – Two Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornets await flying missions during Operation NOBLE DEFENDER at Thule Air Base, Greenland, March 15, 2022. The North American Aerospace Defense Command maintains robust air defense capabilities over the continental United States, Alaska and Canada. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Carlos Ferran)

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.

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)

A Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft maintainer conducts pre-flight checks on CF-18 Hornet tires during Operation NOBLE DEFENDER, March 14, 2022.

THULE AIR BASE, Greenland – A Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft maintainer conducts pre-flight checks on CF-18 Hornet tires during Operation NOBLE DEFENDER, March 14, 2022. NOBLE DEFENDER is part of a recurring series of North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command operations and readiness exercises. (Royal Canadian Air Force photo by Master Cpl Steeve Picard)

A servicemember guides a Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet into the hangar upon arrival at Thule Air Base, Greenland, for Operation NOBLE DEFENDER, March 14, 2022.

THULE AIR BASE, Greenland – A servicemember guides a Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet into the hangar upon arrival at Thule Air Base, Greenland, for Operation NOBLE DEFENDER, March 14, 2022. NOBLE DEFENDER demonstrates cohesive coordination amongst North American partner nations. (Royal Canadian Air Force photo by Master Cpl Steeve Picard)

A Royal Canadian Air Force CH-149 Cormorant Search and Rescue helicopters positions itself on the airfield in preparation for Operation NOBLE DEFENDER at Thule Air Base, Greenland, March 14, 2022.
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THULE AIR BASE, Greenland – A Royal Canadian Air Force CH-149 Cormorant Search and Rescue helicopters positions itself on the airfield in preparation for Operation NOBLE DEFENDER at Thule Air Base, Greenland, March 14, 2022. NOBLE DEFENDER seeks to support a variety of campaign objectives for both North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command. (Royal Canadian Air Force photo by Master Cpl Steeve Picard)

THULE AIR BASE, Greenland --

North American Aerospace Defense Command and the United States Northern Command participated in Operation NOBLE DEFENDER at Thule Air Base, Greenland, March 14 to 17, 2022.

NORAD and USNORTHCOM are Canadian and the American bi-national military commands charged with three missions in the defense of North America: aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning.

NOBLE DEFENDER is part of a recurring series of NORAD operations and readiness exercises and designed to demonstrate a cohesive coordination amongst North American partner nations, including the Royal Canadian Air Force and U.S. Air Force. The operation is centered on the ability to respond to both aircraft and cruise missiles threatening North America.

“Thule Air Base is committed to supporting emerging requirements in the Arctic,” said Col. Heather McGee, 821st Air Base Group commander. “The success of the recent Operation NOBLE DEFENDER demonstrates that the Airmen and Guardians at Thule [Air Base] are prepared and ready to ensure the United States can deter adverse actors while operating in a challenging and remote arctic environment.”

Aside from Thule Air Base, Greenland, and other Alaskan air bases, the operation was also based out of Canadian Forces Station Alert, Nunavut; Whitehorse, Yukon; Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; 17 Wing/Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg, Manitoba; 22 Wing North Bay, Ontario and 5 Wing Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador.

The operation saw Canadian CF-18 fighters operating from northern airfields to intercept aircraft role-playing as threats. Fighter aircraft were supported by Royal Canadian Air Force and United States Air Force KC-10 air-to-air refuelers.

The monitoring and control of North American airspace remains a primary mission focus area for NORAD. The command maintains robust air defense capabilities to execute the airspace mission over the continental U.S., Alaska and Canada.

"Exercising in the Arctic allows us to demonstrate our resiliency and advance our operational capabilities that are critical for integrated deterrence and layered defense,” said General Glen VanHerck, NORAD/USNORTHCOM commander. “The men and women of NORAD, in Canada and the United States, remain steadfast in our sacred obligation of deterring threats, and if required, defending North America.”

NORAD remains committed to working collaboratively with our partners for an all-domain approach to Arctic security to address emerging challenges and capabilities.

A stable, rules-based order in the Arctic benefits all Arctic community nations by facilitating economic development, fostering regional cooperation on shared challenges, and ensuring a stable, conflict-free Arctic.  The relationships between Arctic allies and partners strengthens the collective deterrent against strategic competitors.

Essential experience resides in the units stationed in the far north, from our Canadian defense partners and overseas allies to the American services.

“We look forward to continued cooperation with NORAD/NORTHCOM and our international partners in future operations and events at Thule Air Base,” said McGee.

The Arctic nations will continue conducting exercises and operations in order to maintain its capabilities.

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