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NEWS | Oct. 25, 2021

176th Wing detects, tracks and identifies Russian aircraft entering Air Defense Identification Zone

By Maj. Chelsea Aspelund 176th Wing Public Affairs

The 176th Air Defense Squadron played a key role in the Alaska North American Aerospace Defense Command Region detection, tracking and identification of five Russian aircraft entering the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone Oct. 21.
When five Russian aircraft entered the outer Alaska ADIZ on Oct. 21, a 176th ADS surveillance team, comprising an air surveillance officer, an air surveillance technician and an interface control technician utilized radar data to track the aircraft and transmit their locations to NORAD and associated mission partners.
“At any given time, the ADS maintains an integrated air picture utilizing radar data from 13 coastal and five inland radar sites,” said Senior Master Sgt. Eric Shinsato, 176th ADS director of operations superintendent. “This information can be fused with air traffic control feeds and datalink information from ground and airborne assets.”
After detection and tracking began, surveillance data was analyzed and fused with information from the 611th Air Operations Center and the ADS weapons team, comprising a senior director, a senior director technician, and an air weapons officer/weapons director to identify the tracks as one A-50 Mainstay Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft, two Su-35 Flanker fighters and two Tu-95 Bear-H bombers.
As tracking and identification were ongoing, the battle management team, comprising a mission crew commander and a mission crew commander technician, coordinated with the 611th AOC to oversee the mission and guide the weapons and surveillance teams.
“Alaska NORAD Region missions involve extensive, total force coordination,” Shinsato said. “Across the operations floor, we will have at least nine personnel monitoring mission radios, emergency management frequencies, satellite communications, chat windows and telephonic communications.”
Mission partners include 11th Air Force, 611th AOC, Alaska Rescue Coordination Center and 3rd Wing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson; the 168th Air Refueling Wing and 354th Fighter Wing at Eielson Air Force Base.
Embodying the National Guard motto of “Always Ready, Always There,” the 176 ADS stands ready to provide command and control for ANR missions.
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