Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), page 411

Index   410 -- Page 411 -- 412

pilot(s) will respond only if, in their judgment, the
request can be conducted in a safe manner. Intercept
procedures are described in some detail in the

paragraphs below. In all situations, the interceptor

pilot will consider safety of flight for all concerned

throughout the intercept procedure. The interceptor

pilot(s) will use caution to avoid startling the

intercepted crew or passengers and understand that

maneuvers considered normal for interceptor aircraft

may be considered hazardous to other aircraft.

3. All aircraft operating in US national airspace
are highly encouraged to maintain a listening watch

on VHF/UHF guard frequencies (121.5 or 243.0
MHz). If subjected to a military intercept, it is
incumbent on civilian aviators to understand their

responsibilities and to comply with ICAO standard
signals relayed from the intercepting aircraft.
Specifically, aviators are expected to contact air

traffic control without delay (if able) on the local
operating frequency or on VHF/UHF guard.
Noncompliance may result in the use of force.

b. Fighter intercept phases (See FIG 5-6-1).

1. Approach Phase.
As standard procedure, intercepted aircraft are
approached from behind. Typically, interceptor
aircraft will be employed in pairs, however, it is not
uncommon for a single aircraft to perform the
intercept operation. Safe separation between inter-
ceptors and intercepted aircraft is the responsibility of
the intercepting aircraft and will be maintained at all

2. Identification Phase.
Interceptor aircraft will initiate a controlled closure
toward the aircraft of interest, holding at a distance no
closer than deemed necessary to establish positive
identification and to gather the necessary informa-
tion. The interceptor may also fly past the intercepted

aircraft while gathering data at a distance considered
safe based on aircraft performance characteristics.

3. Post Intercept Phase.

An interceptor may attempt to establish communica-

tions via standard ICAO signals. In time-critical

situations where the interceptor is seeking an

immediate response from the intercepted aircraft or if

the intercepted aircraft remains non-compliant to

instruction, the interceptor pilot may initiate a divert

maneuver. In this maneuver, the interceptor flies
across the intercepted aircraft's flight path (minimum
500 feet separation and commencing from slightly
below the intercepted aircraft altitude) in the general

direction the intercepted aircraft is expected to turn.
The interceptor will rock its wings (daytime) or flash
external lights/select afterburners (night) while

crossing the intercepted aircraft's flight path. The
interceptor will roll out in the direction the
intercepted aircraft is expected to turn before

returning to verify the aircraft of interest is
complying. The intercepted aircraft is expected to
execute an immediate turn to the direction of the
intercepting aircraft. If the aircraft of interest does not
comply, the interceptor may conduct a second
climbing turn across the intercepted aircraft's flight
path (minimum 500 feet separation and commencing
from slightly below the intercepted aircraft altitude)
while expending flares as a warning signal to the
intercepted aircraft to comply immediately and to
turn in the direction indicated and to leave the area.
The interceptor is responsible to maintain safe
separation during these and all intercept maneuvers.
Flight safety is paramount.
1. NORAD interceptors will take every precaution to
preclude the possibility of the intercepted aircraft
experiencing jet wash/wake turbulence; however, there is
a potential that this condition could be encountered.
2. During Night/IMC, the intercept will be from below
flight path.

National Security and Interception Procedures 5-6-3

Page 411 of the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM.pdf)
AIM: Official Guide to Basic Flight Information and ATC Procedures

Index   410 -- Page 411 -- 412