When the two Super Bowl contenders meet on Sunday, another team of airmen and law enforcement agencies will be hard at work to make sure people watching the game are safe, said Lt. Gen. William Etter, commander of the Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region.
NORAD has secured the airspace over every Super Bowl game since 2002, Etter said. For security reasons, he would not say how many airmen and aircraft will be involved with protecting this year’s match, but the operation will include F-16s, F-15s and aerial refueling tankers.
“It’s a complete total Air Force [effort]: active, Guard, Reserve, civilians and contractors – we need and we use all of them to make this mission successful,” he said.
Sunday’s game will be played close to New York City, and that poses challenges because the airspace is among the most congested in the country, Etter said. NORAD will also be working closely with the Civil Air Patrol, the Federal Aviation Administration and US Customs and Borer Protection.
“NORAD has the watch,” he said. “The entire NORAD enterprise is part of the team supporting the interagency partners that help make this a safe and a supportable sporting event.”