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News | Aug. 23, 2012

CONR to fly air defense exercise in preparation for DNC

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region fighters will be active prior to the Democratic National Convention preparing to protect the skies around Charlotte, N.C.

Exercise Amalgam Virgo, a NORAD air defense exercise, will be held Sept. 2, in the greater Charlotte area to allow interagency partners the opportunity to practice response procedures for airspace violations.

The Amalgam Virgo exercise consists of a series of training flights held in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Secret Service and their multi-agency Air Security Operations Center, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Continental U.S. NORAD Region's Eastern Air Defense Sector.

Residents in the Charlotte area can expect flights to begin around 8:45 a.m. EDT, and continue for approximately 30 minutes.

Exercise Amalgam Virgo is designed to hone NORAD’s intercept and identification skills. Civil Air Patrol aircraft, Air Force F-16s, and a Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter will participate in the exercise.

"Planning for special security events like this year’s Democratic National Convention in North Carolina is a part of our day to day air defense mission," said Col. Randy Spear, 601st Air and Space Operations Center commander. "A lot of agencies are involved in air security for events like the DNC. This Amalgam Virgo exercise gives us a chance to sharpen air defense skills with our interagency partners prior to the event.”

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

The 601st AOC is responsible for detecting, deterring, defending and if necessary, defeating any aviation threat to the citizens of the United States and to U.S. critical infrastructure. The AOC is primarily manned by the Florida Air National Guard’s 101st Air and Space Operations Group.

During the Democratic National Convention, Air Force fighter jets will be on alert enforcing the Federal Aviation Administration's Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) zone during the summit. Officials advise all aviators to check Notices to Airmen (NOTAMS) as required with a special focus on TFRs. For additional information visit or