Fighter jets to patrol skies over Democratic convention

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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According to a Department of Defense news release, fighter jets will be used to protect the skies over Charlotte, N.C., during the Democratic National Convention this week.

Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region (NORAD) fighters will defend the skies above Charlotte, North Carolina during the Democratic National Convention.

Air Force fighter jets will be on alert and enforcing the temporary flight restrictions over Charlotte that have been issued by the Federal Aviation Administration for September 3 through September 6.

NORAD fighters will also be active the skies prior to the convention in military exercises aimed at honing air defense skills for major events like the DNC.

According to the DoD, Civil Air Patrol aircraft, Air force F-16s, and a Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin Helicopter will all be participating in the exercise, which is intended to sharpen U.S., though the number of aircraft participating hasn’t been said.

“Planning for special security events like this year’s Democratic National Convention in North Carolina is a part of our day to day air defense mission,” said Air Force Colonel Randy Spear, 601st Air and Space Operations Center (AOC) commander.

“A lot of agencies are involved in air security for events like the DNC,” he continued. “This Amalgam Virgo exercise gives us a chance to sharpen air defense skills with our interagency partners prior to the event.”

The exercise will begin on 8:45 a.m. Sunday and last about 30 minutes, according to the Charlotte Observer.

The skies over this year’s Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay, Florida were also patrolled by Air Force fighter jets.

According to the DoD news release, Continental U.S. NORAD Region has done exercises such as this since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The 601st AOC is responsible for defending the United States and to U.S. critical infrastructure from any aviation threats and is primarily manned by the Florida Air National Guard’s 101st Air and Space Operations Group.

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