NORAD NEWS

NORAD exercise planned for Washington, D.C.

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | October 24, 2011

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - The North American Aerospace Defense Command and its geographical component, the Continental United States NORAD Region (CONR), will conduct exercise Falcon Virgo 12-01 beginning early Wednesday morning, Oct. 26, in the National Capital Region, Washington, D.C.

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, U.S. Coast Guard and CONR's Eastern Air Defense Sector.

Flights in the National Capital Region are scheduled to take place between 3 - 5 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, Air Force F-16s and a U.S. Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter 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 October 26th 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 1000 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 November 2nd or November 9th at the same time.

NORAD's mission - in close collaboration with homeland defense, security, and law enforcement partners - is to prevent air attacks against North America, safeguard the sovereign airspaces of the United States and Canada by responding to unknown, unwanted and unauthorized air activity approaching and operating within these airspaces, and provide aerospace and maritime warning for North America. NORAD may be required to monitor, shadow, divert from flight path, direct to land and/or destroy platforms deemed a potential threat to North America.

NORAD is the bi-national Canadian and American command that is responsible for the air defense of North America and maritime warning. The command has three subordinate regional headquarters: the Alaskan NORAD Region at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska; the Canadian NORAD Region at Winnipeg, Manitoba; and the Continental NORAD Region at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. The command is poised both tactically and strategically in our nation's capital to provide a multilayered defense to detect, deter and prevent potential threats flying over the airspace of the United States and Canada.