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Russia, NORAD complete joint air defense drills

RIA Novosti

18:07 11/08/2010

KHABAROVSK, August 11 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Air Force and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) completed on Wednesday the active phase of joint anti-terrorism drills in the Far East.

The exercise, dubbed Vigilant Eagle, was carried out on August 6-11, and involved Russian, Canadian and U.S. air force personnel operating from command centers at the Elmendorf airbase in Alaska, and in Khabarovsk, Russia.

"The personnel [involved in the drills] exhibited a high degree of professionalism in coordinating air missions and exchanging information," a senior Russian Air Force official said commenting on the outcome of the drills.

The exercise scenario, put together by NORAD and U.S. Northern Command, created a situation requiring both the Russian Air Force and NORAD to launch or divert fighter aircraft to investigate and follow a U.S. flagged Golfstream 4 plane on an international flight that has been taken over by terrorists.

The drills involved U.S. AWACS E-3B and Russian A-50 airborne warning and control aircraft, Russian MiG-31 and Su-27 fighters and U.S. F-22 interceptors, along with refueling aircraft from both countries.

The exercise was carried out under a cooperative military agreement between Russia and the United States, which tasks NORAD, the bi-national U.S. and Canadian command, and the Russian Air Force to conduct a live-fly exercise for up to five days.

"These drills allow us to make a step forward in the Russian-NORAD cooperation on countering potential threats of aircraft piracy," the Russian official said.

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