Military to practice air intercepts over Phoenix

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Washington, D.C. - Capt. Jeffrey Powell communicates to his team during an intercept mission over the National Capital Region. By Catherine Holland Washington, D.C. - Capt. Jeffrey Powell communicates to his team during an intercept mission over the National Capital Region. By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX (AP) -- Fighter jets controlled by the North American Aerospace Defense Command plan on intercepting planes posing as possible threats over Phoenix.

Tuesday morning's exercises are part of regular tests of NORAD's ability to respond to airborne threats that have been in place since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The fighters will be intercepting other aircraft standing in as possible threats between 10 a.m. and noon and people may see or hear them as they fly above the metropolitan Phoenix area. The flights could be delayed or cancelled if bad weather develops, which is a possibility.

NORAD provides aerospace warning and control for Canada and U.S. and involves both American and Canadian military commanders.

In order to test responses, systems and equipment, NORAD continuously conducts exercises using a variety of scenarios, including airspace restriction violations, hijackings and unresponsive aircraft. All NORAD exercises are carefully planned and closely controlled.

NORAD has conducted a number of exercise flights throughout Canada and the U.S. since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command’s response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.