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NORAD Jets Prepare to Protect Super Bowl Skies

From a Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region News Release

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., Jan. 28, 2013 – Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region fighters, along with interagency partners, will be busy well before Super Bowl Sunday preparing to protect the skies around the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

Just like the teams in the Super Bowl, the Continental U.S. NORAD Region and its partners will practice before the big game.

Exercise Falcon Virgo 13-Super Bowl, a NORAD air defense exercise, will take place tomorrow in the greater New Orleans area to allow interagency partners the chance to practice procedures for responding to airspace violations.

The Falcon Virgo exercise is a series of training flights in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the FBI, Customs and Border Protection, Civil Air Patrol, the 601st Air and Space Operations Center, and the Continental U.S. NORAD Region’s Western Air Defense Sector. These agencies are part of America’s team for defense of the air space around the nation, including major events such as the Super Bowl.

New Orleans residents can expect flights to begin around 7 a.m. CST tomorrow and continue for about an hour, officials said. If inclement weather occurs, the exercise will take place the following morning, and if bad weather continues, officials will then make a decision to postpone or cancel the exercise.

“A key aspect of our daily air defense measures lies in our interagency coordination,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. Sid Clarke, Continental U.S. NORAD Region commander. “This Falcon Virgo exercise is the perfect opportunity for the Continental U.S. NORAD Region and all our interagency partners to work together honing our air defense skills before Sunday’s big game.”

These exercises are carefully planned and closely controlled to ensure the Continental U.S. NORAD Region’s rapid response capability, officials said, noting that the Continental U.S. NORAD Region has conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout the United States since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the nation’s ongoing response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“When it comes to defending America’s skies, whether it’s Super Bowl Sunday or any other day, the men and women of the Continental U.S. NORAD Region and America’s AOC are always on duty,” Clarke said. “We are America’s airmen on the watch.”

Since 9/11, Continental U.S. NORAD Region fighters have responded to more than 5,000 possible air threats in the United States and have flown more than 62,500 sorties with the support of Airborne Warning and Control System and air-to-air-refueling aircraft for Operation Noble Eagle.

 

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