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News | Aug. 1, 2011

NORAD to participate in exercise Vigilant Eagle

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - The Russian Federation Air Force and the North American Aerospace Defense Command will conduct their second cooperative air defense exercise, 7-9 Aug 11.

This exercise began as an initiative NORAD had been pursuing, jointly with the Russian military to transform their relationship and improve cooperation. It was authorized under a cooperative military agreement signed by the presidents of the Russian Federation and the United States of America. The agreement tasked 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.

The exercise, named Vigilant Eagle, involves Russian, Canadian and U.S. Air Force personnel operating from command centers in Russia and the United States.

It will consist of two international flights: one originating in Alaska and traveling into Russian airspace followed by one originating in Russia and traveling into the U.S. airspace.

The basic premise is that a U.S. flagged commercial air carrier on an international flight (Fencing 1220) has been seized 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 continue to focus on shadowing and the cooperative hand-off of the monitored aircraft (Fencing 1220) between airborne warning and aircraft control of the participating nations.

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

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

Conducting future combined exercises continues to move us forward in the development of cooperation between the Russian Federation Air Force and NORAD in preventing possible threats of air terrorism. Continuing to exercise communication procedures between the two nations will continue to strengthen the working relationship and will provide the opportunity to cooperatively detect, track, identify, intercept, and follow an aircraft as it proceeds across international boundaries.