Russia and NATO to hold Vigilant Skies-2013 joint drill in late September
Russia and NATO will conduct joint counterterrorism exercises at the end of September, a spokesman for the Russian National Antiterrorist Committee (NAC) told Interfax.
"From September 23 to September 27, 2013, the Vigilant Skies-2013 exercises will be held as part of international cooperation between Russia and NATO countries in combating terrorism. The event is intended to ensure the proper coordination of efforts to prevent terrorist attacks involving civilian aircraft," the spokesman said.
The exercises, which will take place for the third time under the auspices of the Russia-NATO Council, are meant to enhance the coordination of joint measures to prevent possible terrorist attacks, as well as assess the function of the information sharing system that helps rapidly track down aircraft presumably hijacked by terrorists.
This year, the Vigilant Skies exercises will be held in three geographical regions: the central district (between Russia and Poland), the southern district (between Russia and Turkey), and the northern district (between Russia and Norway).
"Specialists will practice measures that will center on detection, mutual notification and prevention of incidents involving aircraft that are suspected of posing a terrorist threat. At these exercises, Russia will be represented by departments of the Defense Ministry, the Transport Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, the Federal Security Service, as well as the central office of the National Antiterrorist Committee," he said.
The scenario of the event includes simulated situations where terrorists hijack aircraft. Air traffic control specialists of Russia and NATO member countries will take real-time measures to stop these airplanes from being used for terrorist purposes. Military command centers, fighter jets, radar stations, air defense units and counter-terrorism divisions of the countries participating in the exercises will contribute to these efforts.
The directors representing Russia and NATO member states will oversee the exercises from the coordination centers, located in Warsaw and Moscow.
"The Vigilant Skies-2013 exercises will become an important stage in making all of the information exchange systems between the Russian Federation and NATO countries fully prepared to reliably protect their airspace from any terrorist attacks," the NAC spokesman said.