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Recent dash 8 theft from SeaTac and the NORAD response

Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:15 pm

I've had several co-workers ask me about ROE in such a case (though I was Army, not USAF).
Unless you've been far from the news over the weekend, you probably know that a Dash-8 was stolen from a Horizon ground guy at SeaTac and flown up and down the Puget Sound shore area. He eventually either intentionally lawn-darted himself onto Kentron Island (adjacent to the shore line at North Fort Lewis/JBLM at Solo Point) or ran our of air while doing his best Chuck Yaeger impression.
Anyway, two F-15s from the Oregon ANG at Portland were sent to go shadow the flight.
Not much has come out of that, but I do wonder what their Rules Of Engagement would be, especially as he was mostly over heavily populated areas. Assuming there'd been a direct stated threat, I still couldn't imagine them popping out 20MM unless they knew the rounds would bounce off into the Sound and not into residential areas. With missiles, I guess if they could fire out to the west or northwest, they'd unlikely splash onto land if they missed.
The guy talked with ground controllers the whole time (from what I've heard, wasn't ranting or raving at all) and he wasn't going over anything 'important' to merit a shoot-down, but I do wonder if he'd stayed over populated areas, if NORAD at JBLM would have given them weapons free. Nobody wants to put rounds into the air with a real danger of them falling into someone's literal backyard...
Any current/former folks who worked with this kind of possibility wishing to weigh in?
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