US Fighter Jets Scheduled to Be in Skies Over DC Area

US Fighter Jets Scheduled to Be in Skies Over DC Area

( – Parents across the US might recognize the name North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) because of its wildly popular Santa Claus “tracker” on Christmas Eve. However, the agency does a lot more than let your kids know when Kris Kringle is expected to land on their roof. It actually monitors the sky across the North American continent and alerts officials in both the US and Canada when it detects a threat.

NORAD recently announced a routine training mission in Washington, DC.

Training Exercises

On February 8, NORAD announced it was holding Falcon Virgo exercises. The Continental US NORAD Region will conduct a series of exercises intended to help sharpen the agency’s “intercept and identification operations during airspace security events.” According to NORAD, the drills are part of recurring training that support Operation NOBLE EAGLE, a mission that controls and monitors the airspace over the US.

The Air Force Civil Air Patrol, US Coast Guard, and Air National Guard will support the mission, which is expected to take place across several areas, including the National Capital Region. NORAD published updates about the exercises on its Twitter account.

On February 15, the agency announced it conducted an air defense exercise over Washington state and British Columbia. The press release made it clear that the exercise had nothing to do with the recent incidents related to the unidentified objects that have recently been shot down.

The same day, NORAD announced two other NOBLE EAGLE operations off of the coast of North Carolina, as well as west of Florida’s Everglades National Park and north of Key West. In the press releases for all of the exercises, the agency revealed it “routinely conducts air defense exercises using a variety of scenarios, including airspace restriction violations, hijackings, and responding to unknown aircraft.”

Keeping America Safe

NORAD demonstrated its importance on Valentine’s Day when it announced it had intercepted Russian aircraft that entered the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) the day before. According to the press release, the Alaskan Region detected four Russian aircraft and tracked them.

The agency described the interaction as “routine” and said Russian planes remained in international airspace. These types of incidents occur regularly and are exactly what NORAD is trained to identify and intercept. Two NORAD F-16 fighter jets intercepted the Russian TU-95 BEAR-H and SU-35 planes. Like the NOBLE EAGLE exercises, this interception is also unrelated to the recent incidents involving unidentified flying objects.

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