Military Flights Over DC Tests Warning System, Trains Personnel

Those who might be awake after midnight could hear aircraft in the skies over the Washington, D.C. area, but those planes and helicopter are part of a military exercise to test a warning system and personnel at the Joint Air Defense Operations Center at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command and the Continental United States NORAD Region will conduct exercise between midnight and 2:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. Called Falcon Virgo, the exercise will use a U.S. Air Force C-21 aircraft, Civil Air Patrol C-182 aircraft, and a U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter.

The U.S. Air Force C-21 aircraft is the military version of a Lear Jet 35A, the Civil Air Patrol C-182 aircraft is a Cessna plane, and the U.S. Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter is a search and rescue helicopter.

The exercise is designed to test a visual warning system and training personnel at the JADOC. NORAD has conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout the U.S. and Canada since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command’s response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

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