Russia NORAD: With any tension-filled Russia and U.S. political relations forgotten below, this week revealed a carefully executed plane hijacking training exercise for U.S. observers and Russian pilots. The training exercise was intended to verify Russia’s ability and NORAD capabilities to locate, track, and accompany an aircraft, including a hijacked plane, over international borders, ABC shared this Friday, Aug. 30.
The Russia NORAD news came with pilots flying at over 34,000 feet above the Bering Strait, as U.S. officials watched while Russian pilots had a single mission: to seamlessly receive the transition of a hijacked jetliner (being used in the training exercise, that is) from U.S. and Canadian correspondents.
The director of operations of NORAD, Canadian Major Andrew Viens, said that the hijacked aircraft training exercise — which was being called Vigilant Eagle — was never intended to be cancelled, regardless of happenings between the U.S., Canada, and Russia in terms of international politics. The exercise has been held half a dozen times since back in 2003, yet this week’s training regimen was the first time that the operation occurred during a time of U.S. and Russian strained relations over Edward Snowden, human rights, Syrian war, and other controversial issues.
"The cooperation with the Russian Federation Air Force personnel has been ongoing for the past year for this particular serial, and at no time there was any discussion about canceling the event for this year," said Viens this Thursday at the close of the two day training exercise.
Fellow Major Dmitry Gomenkov, who commands the Aerospace Defense Brigade for Russia, was on similar terms. “I see no problems,” said the major via a Russian-English translator.
A Col. And deputy commander of NORAD in the Alaska Region, served as observer of the hijacked plane mission, and said the operation was successful, with cooperation being a key element of the training exercise.
"All these other factors really don't play in this," he said. "This is a mission that we have to accomplish, so it really is beyond those types of frictions. We cooperate because we have to."
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