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News | Aug. 10, 2012

NORAD, Russian Federation Air Force to participate in joint exercise

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 third cooperative air defense exercise, Aug. 27-29, 2012.

This exercise began as an initiative the United States 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.

The exercise, named VIGILANT EAGLE, involves Russian Federation Air Force, Canadian Forces and U.S. Air Force personnel operating from command centers in Russia and the United States.

The computer-based exercise will consist of simulating 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 foreign flagged commercial air carrier on an international flight has been seized by terrorists. The aircraft will not respond to communications. The exercise scenario creates a situation that requires both the Russian Air Force and NORAD to launch or divert fighter aircraft to investigate and follow the aircraft The exercise will focus on the cooperative hand-off of the aircraft between fighter aircraft of the participating nations.

These exercises continue to foster the development of cooperation between the Russian Federation Air Force and NORAD in preventing possible threats of air terrorism.

For further information, please contact NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs at (719) 554-6889 or visit our Web sites at or

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