Counter-Terrorism Joint Exercises–Between Canada, United States, and Russia–Kicked Off in the Arctic Yesterday

From Nunatsiaq Online:

As part of the “Operation Vigilant Eagle” military exercise, starting Aug. 27, fighter jets from the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the Russian air force will scramble to track and intercept “hijacked” commercial aircraft during an air defence exercise.

The exercise is viewed as “a steppingstone toward closer military-to-military cooperation in additional areas,” said the American Forces Press Service.

Vigilant Eagle started Aug. 26, with scenarios that presented the United States, Canada and Russia with “a common enemy,” namely terrorist hijackers who take over two airplanes, Joseph Bonnet, director of joint training and exercises for NORAD and U.S. Northern Command, told the press service.

“It is one of the biggest single areas where the Russian Federation, U.S. and Canada can truly cooperate,” Bonnet is quoted as saying. “All three countries share a common objective in thwarting, combating and cooperating against terrorism.”

Why is this important?  From a Dec. 2010 Fraser Institute report (and there’s this informative 2012 report from the North American Aerospace Defense, or NORAD):

The US, Canada, and Russia recently collaborated for Operation Vigilant Eagle, the first-ever exercise testing their ability to cooperate in a midair hijacking scenario. The exercise involved assets from NORAD, US F-22s, as well as Russian Su-27s and MiG-31s. The airplanes intercepted the “hijacked” aircraft and then ground assets collaborated as the planes moved from one country’s airspace to another’s.

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