The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) temporarily closed and then reopened airspace over Havre, Montana, on February 11, 2023, declaring it “national defense airspace,” according to a “NOTAM” alert from the FAA and Montana congressman.
NORAD later released a statement saying that no object was identified, despite a “radar anomaly” and tweets to the contrary from a congressman and U.S. Senator.
“With the cooperation of the Federal Aviation Administration, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) implemented a temporary flight restriction airspace in central Montana on Feb. 11, 2023 to ensure the safety of air traffic in the area during NORAD operations,” NORAD tweeted. “The restriction has been lifted. NORAD detected a radar anomaly and sent fighter aircraft to investigate. Those aircraft did not identify any object to correlate to the radar hits. NORAD will continue to monitor the situation.”
Natasha Bertrand, national security reporter for CNN, “This appears to have been a false alarm.”
“The FAA closed some airspace in Montana to support Department of Defense activities,” an FAA spokesperson confirmed to Fox News. “The airspace has been reopened.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Top Politicians in Montana Tweeted That the Airspace Was Closed ‘Due to an Object’ Before the NORAD Update
Earlier, Montana U.S. Representative Matt Rosendale tweeted, “I am in direct contact with NORCOM and monitoring the latest issue over Havre and the northern border. Airspace is closed due to an object that could interfere with commercial air traffic — the DOD will resume efforts to observe and ground the object in the morning.”
U.S. Senator John Tester tweeted before the NORAD update, “I am aware of the object in Montana air space and remain in close contact with senior DOD and Administration officials. I am closely monitoring the situation and am receiving regular updates. I will continue to demand answers for the American public.”
However, Rosendale then tweeted that the airspace was reopened. “Airspace is reopened – I will remain in contact with defense officials and share more information as it becomes available. Montanans deserve answers,” he wrote.
You can read the initial FAA alert in full below or at this link.
Where is Havre? According to the city of Havre, “Havre is the County Seat of Hill County and Montana’s eighth largest city, with a population of 9,310. We are located approximately 45 miles south of the Canadian border, in the center of Montana’s ‘Hi-line.'”
A NOTAM is a “Notice to Air Missions,” according to the FAA.
The alert comes only a short time after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that an unidentified object was shot down in Canadian airspace by a U.S. fighter pilot, and the day after U.S. government spokesmen said the U.S. shot down an unidentified object near the Alaskan coast. It also comes a week after the U.S. shot down a Chinese surveillance balloon. Authorities have not said what they think the objects near Alaska and over Canada were.
According to CNN, some pilots said the object shot down near Alaska Friday “interfered with their sensors” on the planes, and others said they saw “no identifiable propulsion on the object, and could not explain how it was staying in the air.”
The FAA Wrote That the Airspace Over Havre, Montana, Was Defined as ‘NTL DEFENSE AIRSPACE’
The FAA’s alert warns that criminal charges could result against anyone who violates the alert.
The alert says:
FDC 3/4763 ZLC PART 1 OF 3 MT..AIRSPACE HAVRE, MT..TEMPORARY FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS. PURSUANT TO 49 USC 40103(B)(3), THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION (FAA) CLASSIFIES THE AIRSPACE DEFINED IN THIS NOTAM AS ‘NTL DEFENSE AIRSPACE’. PILOTS WHO DO NOT ADHERE TO THE FOLLOWING PROC MAY BE INTERCEPTED, DETAINED AND INTERVIEWED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT/ SECURITY PERSONNEL.
ANY OF THE FOLLOWING ADDITIONAL ACTIONS MAY ALSO BE TAKEN AGAINST A PILOT WHO DOES NOT COMPLY WITH THE RQMNTS OR ANY SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS OR PROC ANNOUNCED IN THIS NOTAM: A) THE FAA MAY TAKE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION, INCLUDING IMPOSING CIVIL PENALTIES AND THE SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION OF AIRMEN CERTIFICATES; OR B) THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT MAY PURSUE CRIMINAL CHARGES, INCLUDING CHARGES UNDER 49 USC SECTION 46307; C) THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT MAY USE DEADLY FORCE AGAINST THE AIRBORNE ACFT, IF IT IS DETERMINED THAT THE ACFT POSES AN IMMINENT SECURITY THREAT; OR D) UAS OPERATORS WHO DO NOT COMPLY WITH APPLICABLE AIRSPACE RESTRICTIONS ARE WARNED THAT PURSUANT TO 10 U.S.C. SECTION 130I AND 2302120020-PERM END PART 1 OF 3
FDC 3/4763 ZLC PART 2 OF 3 MT..AIRSPACE HAVRE, MT..TEMPORARY FLIGHT 6 U.S.C. SECTION 124N, THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (DOD), THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (DHS) OR THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (DOJ) MAY TAKE SECURITY ACTION THAT RESULTS IN THE INTERFERENCE, DISRUPTION, SEIZURE, DAMAGING, OR DESTRUCTION OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT DEEMED TO POSE A CREDIBLE SAFETY OR SECURITY THREAT TO PROTECTED PERSONNEL, FACILITIES, OR ASSETS. PURSUANT TO 14 CFR 99.7, SPECIAL SECURITY INSTRUCTIONS, ALL ACFT FLT OPS ARE PROHIBITED: WI AN AREA DEFINED AS 485411N1101823W TO 481105N1101922W TO 481145N1091337W TO 485516N1091407W TO THE POINT OF ORIGIN. SFC-34,000′ MSL EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
EXCEPTIONS: A) NATIONAL SECURITY ACFT OPS UNDER DIRECTION OF DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; AND B) LAW ENFORCEMENT, AIR AMBULANCE, AND OTHER URGENT GOVERNMENTAL RESPONSE ACFT OPS WITH AUTHORIZATION FROM ATC (ATC MUST SECURE PRE-APPROVAL BY THE ON DUTY NATIONAL TACTICAL SECURITY OPERATIONS AIR TRAFFIC SECURITY COORDINATOR). 2302120020-PERM END PART 2 OF 3 FDC 3/4763 ZLC PART 3 OF 3 MT..AIRSPACE HAVRE, MT..TEMPORARY FLIGHT ALL AIRCRAFT, WHICH ARE ALREADY AIRBORNE WITHIN THE DEFINED AIRSPACE WHEN THIS TFR BECOMES EFFECTIVE, MUST EXIT THE AREA USING THE MOST EXPEDITIOUS ROUTE CONSISTENT WITH SAFETY AND IN COORDINATION WITH ATC AS APPROPRIATE. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE TEL 850-283-5242 IS THE CDN FACILITY. 2302120020-PERM END PART 3 OF 3
Havre, Montana, has historical significance to national defense.
“After the Soviet Union’s detonation of an atomic bomb in 1949 and the beginning of the Korean War in 1950, tensions mounted between the United States and the USSR. To prevent a surprise attack, the US Air Force established a radar network to protect American air space,” the Historical Marker Database says.
“Using the most sophisticated computer and radar technology available, dedicated Air Force officer and airmen manned the stations in some of the most isolated places in the country. Located about thirty miles north west of here, the Havre Air Force Station was one of the eight radar stations in Montana,” it reads.
People made jokes on Twitter about aliens.
The Havre, Montana, FAA Alert Comes After Two Unidentified Objects Were Shot Down Near Alaska & Over Canada
The Havre, Montana, alert comes after two unidentified objects were shot down by the United States over territorial waters off the coast of Alaska and in Canadian airspace on Friday and Saturday.
Earlier on Saturday, February 11, 2023, Trudeau wrote in his tweet that the United States took down an object over Canadian airspace.
“I ordered the take down of an unidentified object that violated Canadian airspace. @NORADCommand shot down the object over the Yukon. Canadian and U.S. aircraft were scrambled, and a U.S. F-22 successfully fired at the object,” Trudeau wrote in the tweet.
Trudeau also tweeted, “I spoke with President Biden this afternoon. Canadian Forces will now recover and analyze the wreckage of the object. Thank you to NORAD for keeping the watch over North America.”
Anita Anand, Canada’s defense minister, tweeted about the object on Saturday, writing, “Today, a @NORADCommand aircraft shot down an unidentified object that violated Canadian airspace. Canadian and U.S. aircraft were scrambled and a U.S. F-22 fired at the object. I discussed this with @SecDef Austin and reaffirmed that we’ll always defend our sovereignty together.”
On Friday, February 10, 2023, John Kirby, a White House spokesman, confirmed in a news conference that the U.S. shot down an object over the water off the coast of Alaska.
He said that authorities don’t know what the object is, where it came from, or who owns it, saying in the news conference: “We’re calling this an ‘object’ because that’s the best description we have right now.”
He described the Alaska object as “much, much smaller than the spy balloon,” and not “maneuverable,” unlike the Chinese surveillance balloon, which was shot down last week off the coast of South Carolina.
Authorities have not identified the latest two objects as balloons.
According to Pentagon Spokesman Pat Ryder, also speaking at a Friday news conference the Alaska object was a “high-altitude airborne object” the size of a small car, flying at 40,000 feet, and might have endangered civilian planes.
READ NEXT: See Videos of the Chinese Spy Balloon Being Shot Down.