NORAD, Russia Practice Countering Hijacks

NORAD launched the third annual Vigilant Eagle counter-hijacking exercise with Russia on Aug. 27, announced NORAD officials. During the three-day, computer-based command post exercise, NORAD and Russian officials will practice intercepting, tracking, and passing escort control of two simulated hijacked international flights—one originating in Alaska, and one flying from the Russian far east, they said. “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,” states NORAD’s Aug. 24 release. “The exercise will focus on the cooperative handoff of the aircraft between fighter aircraft of the participating nations,” added the officials. NORAD is coordinating the exercise with Russia’s eastern military district at Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski through operations centers at Peterson AFB, Colo., and JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, reported Russia’s state-run news agency RIA Novosti. (See also US, Russia Conclude Air Defense Exercise and US, Russia Conduct Second Simulated Hijacking.)