Vigiliant Eagle

Posted 10 August 2010
Photo by Maj. Mike Humphreys

An F-22 pilot forms up on a Gulfstream IV executive aircraft simulating a hijacked airliner over Alaska as part of Exercise Vigilant Eagle, a cooperative exercise involving the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the Russian Air Force. Held 8-9 August 2010, the exercise scenario began when the Gulfstream’s simulated airliner crew signaled to authorities on the ground that the aircraft had been hijacked. Two F-22s from Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, and an E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control aircraft were scrambled in response and followed the aircraft across the Pacific before handing it off to Russian fighters in Russian airspace. On the second day, the mission was flown in reverse, with Su-27 fighters handing the target off to F-22s near Alaska.

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