NORAD-Russian Joint Air Drill, Bomber Incursions And Canada's F-35 Jet

Posted on Tuesday, August 24 at 15:01 by NAUWATCH

By Dana Gabriel

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and the Russian Federation Air Force conducted a cooperative air defense exercise from August 8-11 that focused on combating terrorism.

Vigilant Eagle was hailed as a milestone exercise between the Cold War era rivals. It included Russian, U.S., along with Canadian Air Force personnel operating from command centers inside Russia and the United States directing fighter jets, as well as civilian air traffic controllers. It took several years to stage the drill which centered around, “an international air terrorism scenario exercised over the Pacific Ocean consisting of forces from the U.S. and Russia responding to the simulated hijacking of a B-757 en route to the Far East.” The joint exercise was, “designed to establish clear communication processes that would allow the two forces to work together during a real crisis.” Russian Air Force Col. Alexander Vasilyev emphasized the importance of cooperation in combating the dangers of air terrorism. He stated, “Terrorism is something that affects all our countries. So it is very important that we work together to develop procedures and bring the relationship between our countries closer together to unite our countries in the fight against terrorism.”

In April, it was announced that, “NATO and Russia have begun a testing phase of a joint system for air traffic coordination. This will be the first NATO-Russia system of this kind to be fielded. The system focuses primarily on the fight against terrorism and will provide a shared radar picture of air traffic and early notification of suspicious air activities.” The report entitled the Moscow Metro Bombings and Terrorism in Russia also addresses the possibility of developing further practical NATO-Russia cooperation in regards to terrorism. President Barack Obama has called for Russia and the U.S. to further deepen collaboration on security and anti-terrorism matters. In May, the Associated Press reported that, “Obama told a Russian television station that no single country can defeat terrorists who have attacked targets throughout the world. He said he looks forward to ‘increasing cooperation between the United States and Russia’ on fighting terrorism.” Despite any past or present tension between the two countries, the seemingly endless shadowy war on terrorism has provided a common enemy and demonstrated how the global conflict can at times make strange bedfellows.

The recent NORAD-Russian air drill was preceded by an incident where Canadian fighter jets repelled two long-range Russian bombers off the coast of Labrador near the Arctic. Russia contends the flight was simply a training mission and deny trying to enter Canadian airspace. They maintain that the Canadian military was aware of the exercise contrary to Defence minister Peter MacKay who insists that they were not notified. NORAD fighters have intercepted between 12 and 18 bombers annually since 2007. In advance of President Obama’s visit to Canada back in February of 2009, Canadian fighter jets were scrambled to head off Russian bombers approaching its airspace. Prime Minster Stephen Harper promised that Canada would defend its airspace and sovereignty by responding every time the Russians make any kind of intrusion into its Arctic territory. At times, Canada and Russia have both been guilty of a war of words in regards to Arctic sovereignty. The latest so-called Russian bomber incursion appears to be nothing more than an attempt by the Conservative government to capitalize on the event to further its political interests.

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  1. by RickW
    Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:09 am
    They are conducting these "exercises" with an eye on China. This "terrorist" thing is just smoke.

  2. Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:01 pm
    Tories using fear to sell fighter jet deal, opposition charges

    The Harper government is trying to frighten Canadians into backing its plan to spend more than $9 billion on new fighter jets, opposition MPs charged Wednesday after the Prime Minister's Office revealed that two Russian bombers had approached Canadian airspace within the previous 24 hours.

    Liberals and New Democrats said Canadians deserve a serious discussion about why the expensive F-35 jets are needed and they should not have to put up with fearmongering.

    "We're not in the middle of a Cold War, we don't expect the Russians to attack Canada. This is all foolishness," New Democrat Jack Harris, the party's defence critic, told reporters.

    Read more: ... z0xqrpbSGk

  3. Wed Aug 25, 2010 6:14 pm
    Perhaps they are keeping an eye toward China. It is a growing concern to all of us.

  4. by RickW
    Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:49 am
    And Harper insists on making mountains out of molehills. Latest "Russian incursion" incident was deemed "normal operating procedure" by NORAD - yet Harper bragged at Canadian forces vigilance and response.

    Sure do "need" those 60 odd fighters for $16 billion (but not until 2017 when they will likely require immediate upgrades - sort of like the Liberals with those British submarines)!

    I don't suppose it would occur to the government to use the $16 billion as seed money for a "Made in Canada" aircraft manufacturing industry. I mean, we had one in the '50s, until - oh yes - a Conservative government cancelled it...........

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