An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

NEWS | March 7, 2023

176th Wing integral to NORAD air sovereignty and routine intercept of Russian aircraft

By Maj. Chelsea Aspelund 176th Wing Public Affairs

The 176th Air Defense Squadron is integral to Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Region positive identification, tracking and routine intercept of Russian aircraft operating within the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

Across the U.S. and Canada, NORAD units track and positively identify foreign military aircraft that enter the ADIZ. They monitor foreign aircraft movements and as necessary, NORAD aircraft are launched to intercept them.

For the Alaska NORAD region, one such unit is the Alaska Air National Guard’s 176th Air Defense Squadron.

The 176th ADS maintains an integrated air picture using radar data that is fused with air traffic control feeds and datalink information from ground and airborne assets. This information is then utilized to create a common operating picture of the Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Region and is viewed by higher headquarters like NORAD.

When four Russian aircraft entered and operated within the Alaska ADIZ on Feb. 13 and again approached the ADIZ on Feb. 14, a 176th ADS surveillance team, comprised of an air surveillance technician, a surveillance technician and an interface control technician used their radar scopes to detect and track the aircraft.

Surveillance data was validated with information from 176th ADS weapons and battle management teams and the 611th Air Operations Center to positively identify the aircraft.

When the decision to intercept the Russian aircraft was made by NORAD leadership, the weapons team, comprising of a senior director, a weapons technician and an air weapons officer/weapons director coordinated airspace release with the Federal Aviation Administration, verified radio frequencies for, and prepared their radar console displays to ensure radar and radio control of the aircraft assigned to the mission.

At any given time, ADS personnel monitor and communicate on mission radios, emergency management frequencies, satellite communications, chat windows and telephonic communications.

Demonstrating the integration of the total force, the weapons team seamlessly controlled NORAD’s F-16s Fighting Falcon and F35A Lightning fighters with 354th Fighter Wing, E-3 Sentry (Airborne Warning and Control System) with 3rd Wing and KC-135 Stratotankers of the 168th Wing based at Eielson AFB.

Embodying the National Guard motto of “always ready, always there,” the 176th ADS stands ready to ensure air sovereignty for the Alaskan NORAD region.  

Expanding horizons: Kusilvak Career Academy students tour Air National Guard facilities
April 9, 2024

A selfless effort: Alaska National Guard teen wins NG Youth Volunteer of the Year award during visit to state legislature
April 9, 2024

Alaska Air National Guard rescue Airmen help 3 over Easter weekend
April 4, 2024
Alaska Air National Guard rescue Airmen help 3 over Easter weekend

Running with the Wind: Alaska Air Guard HC-130J Combat King II expedites critical medevac
April 1, 2024
Alaska Air National Guard parachutes into Kotlik to medevac critically ill patient

Bethel Readiness Center dedicated to local veteran, distinguished leader in community
March 19, 2024
Bethel Readiness Center dedicated to local veteran, distinguished leader in community

Alaska, Maine Guard Conduct Disaster Preparation Exercise
March 13, 2024
Alaska and Maine National Guardsmen offload from a 176th Wing C-17 Globemaster III while supporting Exercise Vigilant Guard 2024-2 (Alaska) at Merle K. “Mudhole” Smith Airport, Cordova, Alaska, March 5, 2024.

Alaska Air National Guardsman volunteers as JROTC drill judge
February 22, 2024
Alaska Air National Guardsman volunteers as JROTC drill judge

Bison Company’s cold weather training triumphs in Bethel
February 7, 2024
Bison Company, 1st Battalion, 297th Infantry Regiment, demonstrated readiness and resilience during their cold weather training in Bethel, Alaska, February 2-4, 2024.
This training marked a significant reunion for the Alaska Army National Guard infantry unit in Bethel, emphasizing the city's importance as a training ground that challenges Soldiers to adapt and excel in real-world scenarios.

Alaska Naval Militia, U.S. Navy Reserve pay tribute to S-26 submariners
January 24, 2024
In a solemn gathering at the U.S. Navy Reserve Center on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, sailors from the Alaska Naval Militia and U.S. Navy Reserve assembled Jan. 24, to pay homage to their fallen comrades lost 82 years ago.

Aircraft maintenance Airmen critical part of Pave Hawk transport mission
January 11, 2024
Airmen from the Alaska Air National Guard 176th Aircraft Maintenance from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, and the active duty 718th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron from Kadena Air Base, Japan, conducted a joint operation to transport an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter from Bethel to JBER in early January 2024.