US, Canada, Russia militaries train for hijacking


U.S., Canadian and Russian military officers have wrapped up a three-day training exercise to test their ability to jointly defuse an international hijacking.

The exercise took place inside the headquarters of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, a joint U.S.-Canada operation with headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.

In the scenario, dubbed "Vigilant Eagle," commanders worked through involved international flights that had been seized by terrorists.

"Now we're also practicing with our international partners to ensure that the air systems of all of our countries are safe, predominantly, and that if something does go wrong we're there to take action," said Brigadier General Richard Scobee, Deputy Director of Operations, NORAD. "We'll never be helpless again."

The exercise is designed to coordinate efforts between Armed Forces in North America and Russian Armed Forces. Commanders order fighter jets from each nation to contact a flight in trouble, and try to bring the situation to a safe resolution.

"I am convinced, and to the core believe, that between these two groups right now there is complete understanding and interaction," said General Major Sergey Vladimirovich Dronov, of Russia's 3rd Air Force Air Defense Command.

Other participants worked from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, and two locations in Russia.

This was the third annual edition of the exercise. The previous two involved having a small plane play the role of a hijacked airliner, but this year's version was entirely a simulation.

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