Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fighter jets protect skies during republican convention

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) -- Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region fighters are protecting the skies during the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.

Air Force fighter jets will be on alert during the convention, which runs from Aug. 27 through Aug. 30, enforcing the Federal Aviation Administration's temporary flight restriction zone.

Air Force Col. Randy Spear, the 601st Air and Space Operations Center commander, said special events are part of the Continental U.S. NORAD Region's air defense mission.

"The men and women of CONR and the 601st AOC are charged with defending the skies over the continental United States, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico every second of the day," Spear said. "As a part of this air defense shield, we routinely protect the skies over special security events like this year's Republican National Convention"

Spear noted that temporary flight restrictions are in effect in other areas around the country, and he advised aviators to put special focus on those restrictions when they check Notices to Airmen.

The 601st AOC is responsible for detecting, deterring, defending and, if necessary, defeating any aviation threat to the United States and its critical infrastructure. The Continental U.S. NORAD Region has conducted air patrols throughout the United States since the beginning of Operation Noble Eagle, the command's response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
CONR flights will have minimal impact on aircraft in the area, officials said, and are not in response to any specific threat.