Two F-15s from the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s 104th Fighter Wing last week scrambled to intercept an Emirates Airlines 777 en route to New York City as US authorities acted to prevent a possible terrorist attack. They escorted the commercial flight, which originated in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to New York’s Kennedy Airport as a precaution on Oct. 29 after authorities found bombs on two other aircraft destined for Chicago out of London and Dubai. The Associated Press reported (via National Public Radio) that Canadian CF-18 Hornets operating from Bagotville, Quebec, initially intercepted the 777 in Canadian airspace. They passed escort to the Air Guard F-15s flying from Barnes ANG Base as the flight entered US airspace. US officials found no explosive device on the 777, although President Obama declared the seemingly coordinated actions involving the Chicago-bound aircraft that day a “credible terrorist threat” to US security.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.