NORAD jets ready to protect Super Bowl skies|
1/29/2013 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) -- Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region fighter jets, along with interagency partners, have been 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 their (CONR) member partners practice before the big game.
Exercise Falcon Virgo 13 - Super Bowl, a NORAD air defense exercise, took place Jan. 29 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, FBI, Customs and Border Protection, Civil Air Patrol, 601st Air and Space Operations Center, and CONR 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 experienced the sights and sound of the exercise starting 7 a.m. CST with back-up dates, if necessary, slated for Jan. 30.
"A key aspect of our daily air defense measures lies in our interagency coordination," said Lt. Gen. Sid Clarke, CONR 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 CONR's rapid response capability, officials said, noting that their 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 air operations center are always on duty," Clarke said. "We are America's airmen on the watch."
Since 9/11, Continental U.S. NORAD Region fighter jets 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.
(Courtesy of Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command)