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EXERCISE ALERT: NORAD to Conduct Intercept over Rhode Island

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Author Topic: EXERCISE ALERT: NORAD to Conduct Intercept over Rhode Island  (Read 208 times)
Bad Penny
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« on: February 17, 2011, 12:21:15 am »

Here's the story:

NORAD plans exercise over R.I.

01:00 AM EST on Thursday, February 17, 2011

By Thomas J. Morgan

Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE — The North American Aerospace Defense Command plans to fly a mission over Rhode Island Thursday as part of routine training.

Lt. Desmond James, at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, said that if the weather is clear, people on the ground might be able to see a pair of fighters intercept a C-21, the military version of the business Learjet. He said the fighters will be either F-15s or F-16s.

“Depending on the altitude, you might see the whole thing transpire,” James said.

The fighters will not exceed the speed of sound.

“There will be a target aircraft,” he said. “Suddenly, something will happen with that aircraft. They might call in for assistance. They might send in a hijacking code. They might declare an in-flight emergency. Or they might deviate from what it normally does and catch the attention of NORAD operators.”

He said the aircraft will conduct the exercise in mid to late morning.

Missions such as these are routine and take place “all the time” around the United States and Canada, James said, adding that one was scheduled for Wednesday evening over Washington.

He said the Air Force publicizes such flights because: “After 9/11, it was prudent to let people know this is a NORAD exercise and nothing other than that; otherwise, you get people panicking.”

James said real interceptions happen “from time to time.”

NORAD gets involved “When you get an aircraft that does not talk to air traffic control, and nobody knows what’s going on. You put fighters up and see what’s actually going on.”

He said, sometimes, the pilots of the target aircraft have no idea that the transponder that sends out a continuous identification signal has been turned off, or that the pilots have not been talking to air-traffic control.
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