A Russian Sukhoi Su-30
“Vigilant Sky 2011,” as the manoeuvres have been dubbed, represents the first time that Russian and NATO forces have cooperated in such a venture.
An alliance statement says that the exercises will test the NATO-Russia Council Cooperative Airspace Initiative (CAI), a system which aims to prevent further terrorist attacks like 9/11 in the US by, "sharing information on movements in NATO airspace and Russian airspace, and by coordinating interceptions of renegade aircraft.”
On June 7, a plane will take off from Krakow airport, followed by a simulated hijacking of the aircraft by “terrorists”.
According to the plans, the plane will then be “captured” by Polish air fighters.
The Russian Air Force will then take control of the situation, and the plane will be guided to Malbork, northern Poland, where it is set to land.
On 8 June, a similar operation is due to take place over the Black Sea.
The new Russian-NATO joint air security system, "provides a shared NATO-Russia radar picture of air traffic and allows early warning of suspicious air activities through commonly agreed procedures," says the alliance statement.
The new system will be based in Warsaw and Moscow with local coordination sites in Kaliningrad, Rostov-on-Don, Murmansk in Russia), Bodø (Norway) and Ankara in Turkey.
Nations including Canada, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Russia, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States, have so far contributed more than 10 million euros to the CAI project. (pg/nh)