(COLORADO SPRINGS) — The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) recently conducted an operation to demonstrate its readiness to defend Canada and the U.S. in the challenging Arctic environment.

Operation Noble Defender was carried out from Jan. 15-31 across multiple locations in the Arctic, according to a press release from NORAD.

“Our ability to operate in the Arctic is critical to our ability to defend our homelands,” said General Glen VanHerck, Commander, NORAD 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.”

NORAD said approximately 225 American and Canadian personnel from all three NORAD Regions deployed to multiple locations:

  • Thule Air Base, Greenland
  • Iqaluit Forward Operating Location, Nunavut
  • 5 Wing Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska

Along with personnel, aircraft supporting this mission included:

  • Four F-35s
  • Three CF-18s
  • Four KC-135s
  • One CC-150
  • One E-3
  • One CH-149

This operation signified the first time F-35s were deployed to Thule, Greenland, which NORAD said displayed the agility of their response with support from the Kingdom of Denmark.

At the conclusion of the operation, NORAD fighters participated in an exercise intercepting a U.S. Strategic Command B-52 bomber, in which NORAD CF-18s escorted the bomber as it was traveling through northern Canada and the Central U.S.

NORAD said Noble Defender is a recurring air defense operation that takes place throughout the year.