23:07 GMT +323 September 2017
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    In this Sept. 11, 2001, file photo, the twin towers of the World Trade Center burn behind the Empire State Building in New York.

    US Flies 70,000 Sorties Since 9/11 to Stop Aircraft in Restricted Airspace

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    The US Northern Command (NORTHCOM) flew more than 70,000 sorties since 9/11 terror attacks on the United States to intercept aircraft that entered restricted capital airspace, NORTHCOM Commander Gen. Lori Robinson said in testimony to the US Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Robinson noted that her command will continue to integrate advanced sensors in the National Capital Region in 2017.

    "Since 9/11, more than 70,000 sorties have been flown in support of Operation NOBLE EAGLE," Robinson stated.

    "In the years after 9/11, NORAD was frequently launching Operation NOBLE EAGLE assets to intercept general aviation aircraft that unintentionally violated restricted airspace around the National Capital Region."

    "[We] are on track to begin the second phase of the Homeland Defense Design in FY18 to expand aerospace surveillance capabilities," she added.

    At present, some 58,000 general aviation aircraft registered within 250 miles of the US capital region, according to NORTHCOM.

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