NORAD NEWS

NORAD exercise planned for Washington, D.C.

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | November 01, 2011

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The North American Aerospace Defense Command and its geographical component, the Continental United States NORAD Region (CONR), will conduct exercise Falcon Virgo 12-02 beginning late Thursday evening, Nov. 3, in the National Capital Region, Washington, D.C. The exercise will conclude early Sunday morning, Nov. 6.

The exercise is comprised of a series of training flights held in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Capital Region Coordination Center, the Joint Air Defense Operations Center, Civil Air Patrol and CONR’s Eastern and Western Air Defense Sectors.

Flights in the National Capital Region are scheduled to take place during two different time periods each day: 11:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. and 2:30 to 5:30 a.m.

Exercise Falcon Virgo is designed to hone NORAD’s intercept and identification operations as well as operationally test the NCR Visual Warning System. Civil Air Patrol aircraft will participate in the exercise.

These exercises are carefully planned and closely controlled to ensure CONR’s rapid response capability. NORAD has conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout the U.S. and Canada since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command’s response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

In the event of inclement weather, the exercise will take place the following evening, until all training requirements are met. If bad weather continues, officials will then make a decision to postpone or cancel the exercise.

Additionally NORAD, in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Homeland Security, will conduct calibration flights on Nov. 3 over the Washington D.C. area.

The calibration flights, which will take place from approximately 12:30 – 2:30 a.m. Eastern Time, will be performed by a civilian Beechcraft King Air aircraft flying patterns at approximately 2000 feet above ground level. These flights have been carefully planned and will be closely controlled. The flights are intended to assist in calibration of systems and equipment.

If the calibration flights have to be cancelled for any reason, they will be attempted again on Nov. 9 at the same time.

As the Continental United States geographical component of the bi-national command NORAD, CONR provides airspace surveillance and control, and directs air sovereignty activities for the CONUS region. CONR and its assigned Air Force and Army assets throughout the country ensure air safety and security against potential air threats.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, CONR fighters have responded to more than 3,400 possible air threats in the United States and have flown more than 59,000 sorties with the support of Airborne Warning and Control System and air-to-air-refueling aircraft.