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NORAD to Keep an Eye on Russian Air Force Maneuvers in Arctic

The Associated Press Published: Sep 9, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Air Force said Sunday it will be sending fighter aircraft to locations in Alaska and Northern Canada to monitor a Russian air force exercise in the Russian arctic and North Pacific Region. The North American Aerospace Defense Command, based at Colorado Springs, Colo., said in a statement it conducted a similar operation during the first two weeks of December last year in response to a similar, but smaller Russian deployment of long-range bombers at northern Russian air bases.

It said that NORAD operation involved more than 350 U.S. and Canadian military personnel.

"NORAD is the eyes and ears of North America and it is our mission to ensure that our air sovereignty is maintained," said Lt. Gen. Ken Pennie, the deputy NORAD commander. "Although it is highly unlikely that Russian aircraft would purposely violate Canadian or American airspace, our mission of vigilance must be sustained."

NORAD did not say when the Russian exercises were expected to begin.

AP-ES-09-09-01 2254EDT

-- Martin Thompson (, September 10, 2001

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