Vigilant Eagle, Take Two

NORAD and the Russian air force will conduct their second cooperative Vigilant Eagle air defense exercise starting Sunday, announced US and Canadian officials. As with the first-ever Vigilant Eagle held last August, the three-day exercise will focus on both sides cooperatively responding to a mock hijacked airliner traversing US and Russian airspace in Alaska and the Russian Far East. US and Russian fighters will practice intercepting and shadowing the airliner over their territories and then handing off control of the airliner to the other side as the airliner approaches the other’s airspace. Along with the fighters, airborne warning and control aircraft and tankers from both sides will participate, as will US, Canadian, and Russian personnel in military air operations centers at JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, and Khabarovsk, Russia. Just last week, Army Lt. Gen. Charles Jacoby, nominee to be the next NORAD and US Northern Command boss, told lawmakers that he favors such exchange with the Russia.