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Russia, NATO to drill interaction at Vigilant Skies exercise

September 24, 2013, 11:14 UTC+3

The exercise is aimed at ensuring the teamwork to prevent terrorist attacks using civilian aircraft

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MOSCOW, September 24 (Itar-Tass) - Russia and NATO will drill practical interaction during the Vigilant Skies 2013 exercise. They will drill an operation to release an aircraft hijacked by terrorists.

Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAC) told Itar-Tass that the exercise, held under the auspices of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) is aimed at ensuring the teamwork to prevent terrorist attacks using civilian aircraft and is conducted within the framework of international cooperation in combating terrorism.

This year’s exercise Vigilant Skies is conducted in three geographic regions - the central (between Russia and Poland), southern (between Russia and Turkey) and northern (between Russia and Norway). The exercise is conducted to test the NATO-Russia Council’s Cooperative Airspace Initiative (CAI) Information Exchange System (IES), will take place on 23-27 September 2013 over the three CAI geographical areas of operational interest, Bodø - Murmansk, Warsaw - Kaliningrad and Ankara - Rostov-on-Don, according to a NATO release.

The experts will drill actions to identify, give mutual notification about and prevent incidents with aircraft suspected of a terrorist threat. Taking part in the exercise from the Russian side are the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Federal Security Service (FSB).

“The exercise scenario simulates situations of aircraft hijacking by terrorists. The operators of Russia and NATO countries will take real-time actions to prevent the use of aircraft for committing acts of terrorism. The bodies of military administration, fighter aircraft, radio-radar, anti-aircraft missile units of the armed forces and anti-terrorist structures of the participating countries will be drilling response to emerging threats,” the NAC reported.

The exercise is managed from coordination centers in Warsaw and Moscow.

The exercise is held already for the third time. It tests the information exchange system for the early detection of aircraft that are hijacked by terrorist who intend to use them as weapons. The exercise participants also coordinate efforts to prevent terrorist attacks.

The CAI was launched at the first NATO-Russia Council summit in Rome in May 2002. The purpose is to foster cooperation on airspace surveillance and air traffic coordination against terrorist attacks using civilian aircraft to facilitate the airspace security information management required for the handling of security incidents.

The first Vigilant Skies exercise took place in 2011.

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