Operations resources


Air defence identification zone


AIP ENR 1.12

Procedures for aircraft operating in an Air Defence Identification Zone

The following general rules and procedures apply to enable identification of air traffic entering any designated air defence identification zone under Australian control.

An ADIZ is airspace of defined dimensions within which identification of all aircraft is required. When a flight is intended to operate within an ADIZ, the pilot must:

  •  lodge a flight notification covering flight within the ADIZ with the appropriate  ATS unit at least 60 minutes before entry into the ADIZ
  •  report the position to ATS when passing each position reporting point within  the ADIZ
  •  report the position to ATS at the ADIZ boundary with a geographical reference  (for example: 15 nm east of (location)) or, if the departure point is within  100 nm of the ADIZ boundary, report departure
  •  report departure if departing from a point in the ADIZ
  •  maintain a continuous listening watch on the communications frequency of the appropriate ATS unit or on another frequency as directed until the flight is through the ADIZ
  •  not deliberately deviate from tracks and altitudes filed in the flight plan unless prior ATC clearance is obtained, or, outside controlled airspace, notification  is given to the appropriate ATS unit
  •  activate the aircraft transponder when within 100 nm of the ADIZ and when operating within the ADIZ.

The following flights over Australia and its territorial waters are exempt from compliance with the requirements above:

  •  a flight originating within an ADIZ which maintains a steady outbound track
  •  a flight which remains within 10 nm of the point of departure
  •  aircraft performing published approach, holding or recovery procedures
  • a flight conducted in accordance with special procedures arranged with the Regional Air Defence Commander.

Where flight plans have to be lodged, they must include details of:

  •  tracks and altitudes to be flown while operating in the ADIZ
  •  estimated elapsed times for each route segment in the ADIZ, including the segment in which the ADIZ boundary is crossed
  •  position reporting points, departure and landing points
  •  estimated time at the commencing point of the first route segment.

Reporting points published in aeronautical charts must be used in addition to those required by the Regional Air Defence Commander.
Pilots must immediately notify ATS of any deviation from flight plan beyond the following tolerances:

Estimated time of commencing the ADIZ route segments
± 5 minutes
Over land area
±10 nm from track
Over oceanic areas
± 20 nm from track


In the event of failure of two-way radio communication, the pilot must proceed  in accordance with the normal radio failure procedures.

Special requirements

Special requirements may be published relative to a particular ADIZ. Flights will not be exempted from the special requirements unless so specified.


Significant deviations from the requirements for flight in an ADIZ must be reported immediately to ATS, and details and reasons for the deviation must be reported at the first point of landing, for transmission to the Regional Air Defence Commander.


Aircraft that are not exempted, and which cannot be satisfactorily identified, may be intercepted by fighter aircraft.
If any doubt arises as to the friendly intention of an aircraft, closer identification may be necessary, in which case the identifying aircraft will maintain visual observation of the intercepted aircraft, and:

  • the intercepting aircraft should approach the intercepted aircraft from astern. The intercepting aircraft should normally take up a position on the left side, slightly above and ahead of the intercepted aircraft, within the field of view of the pilot of the intercepted aircraft, and initially not closer than 300 m
  • the intercepting aircraft should begin closing in gently on the intercepted aircraft, at the same level, until no closer than absolutely necessary to obtain the information needed and
  • if identified as friendly, make the appropriate signal to proceed from a position slightly ahead, by a climbing turn of 90° to port away from the intercepted aircraft, if permissible, considering other air traffic.

The visual signal recommended for use to attract the attention of the pilot in command of the intercepted aircraft is shown in the following table. If repeated attempts to attract attention by use of this signal are unsuccessful, other methods of signalling may be used, including (as a last resort) the visual effect of the reheat/afterburner, providing that no hazard, including hazardous effects of wake turbulence, is created for the intercepted aircraft.

During daytime, the use of smoke producing devices may have the desired effect. During daytime as well as night, the use of high powered strobe lights, whenever installed on the intercepting aircraft for collision avoidance purposes, would also  be of assistance.

As a very last resort, and if directed carefully, the use of reheat/afterburner may achieve the desired result. This method is clearly most effective at night but can  be both disturbing and noisy for the intercepted aircraft, especially if used within  300 m. Reheat/afterburner must therefore be used with great caution.

Aircraft identified by intercept as:

should then proceed according to flight plan and/or ATC instructions
should be prepared to be shadowed, diverted or instructed to land at a suitable airfield
aircraft positively identified as ‘hostile’ may be engaged and destroyed

Action by intercepted aircraft

An aircraft which is intercepted by another aircraft must immediately:

  • follow the instructions given by the intercepting aircraft, interpreting and responding to visual signals in accordance with the following Visual Signals table;
  • notify, if possible, the appropriate ATS unit
  • attempt to establish radio communication with the intercepting aircraft, or with the appropriate intercept control unit, by making a general call on the emergency VHF frequency 121.5 MHz and repeating this call on the emergency UHF frequency 243.0 MHz, if practicable, giving the identity and position of the aircraft and nature of the flight
  • if equipped with SSR transponder, select code 7700, unless otherwise instructed by the appropriate ATS unit
  • if equipped with ADS-B or ADS-C, select the appropriate emergency functionality, if available, unless otherwise instructed by the appropriate ATS unit.

If any instructions by radio from any sources conflict with those given by the intercepting aircraft by visual or radio signals, the intercepted aircraft must request immediate clarification while continuing to comply with instructions given by the intercepting aircraft.

Diversion of aircraft for defence operations

The Regional Air Defence Commander may, through ATS, direct the flight of aircraft in the interests of national security. Messages initiating such requirements will be prefaced by ‘Military operations require…’.

Radio communications during interception



What is your callsign?
Follow me
Descend for landing
You Land
Land at this aerodrome
You may proceed
Callsign (callsign)1
My callsign is (callsign)
Understood, will comply
Can not
Unable to comply
Repeat your instruction
Am lost
Position unknown
May Day
I am in distress
I have been hijacked
I request to land
I require descent
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New rules came into effect from 2 December 2021 that cover the general operating and flight rules. This website is now out of date and will be switched off in the new year. A PDF copy of the VFRG is available for download.
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