North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will conduct air exercise Falcon Virgo Saturday morning, May 18, in the National Capital Region with flights scheduled between midnight and 2:30 a.m. eastern.
A U.S. Coast Guard MH-65D Dolphin helicopter and Civil Air Patrol Cessna 182T aircraft will participate in Falcon Virgo. Some portions of the exercise could involve flights at approximately 2,500 feet above ground level and may be visible from the ground. If weather prevents regularly scheduled flights, the exercise will commence the next day.
To test responses, systems and equipment, NORAD routinely conducts exercises with a variety of scenarios, including airspace restriction violations, hijackings and responding to unknown aircraft. All NORAD exercises are carefully planned and closely controlled.
The defense of North America is NORAD’s top priority. NORAD is on alert around the clock, every day. For more than 60 years, NORAD aircraft have identified and intercepted potential air threats to North America in the execution of the command’s aerospace warning and aerospace control missions.
Operation NOBLE EAGLE is the name given to the military response following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and applies to all air sovereignty and air defense missions in North America. NORAD is a bi-national command focused on the defense of both the U.S. and Canada. The response to potential aerospace threats does not distinguish between the two nations and draws on forces from both countries.