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US, Russia to Conduct First-Ever Joint Air Force Maneuvers

VOA News 03 August 2010

U.S. military officials say elements of the Russian Air Force will join U.S. and Canadian air units in the first-ever joint air defense exercises between the former Cold War foes.

A statement from the North American Aerospace Defense Command, NORAD, says the maneuvers -- set to begin August 8 -- will include training to detect and combat terrorist attacks on commercial airliners.

The exercises, code-named Vigilant Eagle, will be coordinated from a U.S. military command center at Elmendorf air base in (the U.S. state of) Alaska and Russian facilities near the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk.

A Russian Air Force spokesman (Lieutenant-Colonel Vladimir Drik) described the exercises as part of a working plan to improve cooperation between Russian and U.S. forces.

A NORAD statement said the maneuvers will require both the Russian and NORAD bases to launch or divert fighter planes to investigate and shadow commercial aircraft.



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