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NORAD and Russian Air Force plan cooperative air defense exercise



The Russian Federation Air Force, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, and the Alaskan NORAD Region will conduct a first-ever cooperative air defense exercise.

The exercise, named VIGILANT EAGLE, will take place on or about 8-11 August and involves Russian, Canadian and U.S. Air Force personnel operating from command centers in Russia and the United States.

This exercise is authorized under a cooperative military agreement signed by the presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States of America.  The agreement tasks NORAD, the bi-national U.S. and Canadian command, and the Russian Federation Air Force to conduct a live-fly exercise for up to five days.

It will consist of two international flights: one originating in Alaska and traveling to the Far East followed by one originating in the Far East and traveling to Alaska.  Both flights will follow the same route.

The basic premise is that a U.S. flagged commercial air carrier on an international flight (Fencing 1220) has been taken over by terrorists.  The aircraft will not respond to communications.  The exercise scenario will create a situation that requires both the Russian Air Force and NORAD to launch or divert fighter aircraft to investigate and follow Fencing 1220.

The exercise will focus on shadowing and the cooperative hand-off of the monitored aircraft (Fencing 1220) between fighters of the participating nations.

Airborne warning and control aircraft (AWACS E-3B and A-50) from Russia and the United States will be involved along with fighter-interceptor aircraft and refueling aircraft from both countries.

The civilian air control agencies of Russia (Federal Air Navigational Service) and the United States (Federal Aviation Administration) will also be involved in the exercise along with the military air operations centers at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, and Khabarovsk, Russian. 

This combined exercise moves us forward in the development of cooperation between the Russian Federation Air Force and NORAD in preventing possible threats of air terrorism.  This exercise provides the opportunity to cooperatively detect, track, identify, intercept, and follow an aircraft as it proceeds across international boundaries.

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