January 28, 2010 (by 2nd Lt. Emily Chilson) - Shaw F-16 fighter jets will be busy well before Super Bowl Sunday preparing to protect the skies around Sun Life Stadium in Miami for game day.
Shaw F-16 fighter jets, like the one in this photo, will protect the skies around Sun Life Stadium in Miami for Super Bowl XLIV on game day.
Exercise Amalgam Virgo 10-Miami will be held today in the Greater Miami area to allow interagency partners the chance to practice temporary flight restriction violation procedures.
"We're basically rehearsing air sovereignty over-watch for the Super Bowl," said Lt. Col. Michael Richardson, 20th Fighter Wing air sovereignty force commander. "It's a robust exercise, and valuable training. We're fully committed to defending the entire southeast United States."
The exercise comprises a series of training flights held in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, Customs and Border Protection, Civil Air Patrol and Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region's Eastern Air Defense Sector.
"The Super Bowl, because of the number of attendees, might be viewed as a potential target for the kind of criminals who conduct terrorist acts," Colonel Richardson said. "It's a national event which symbolizes, in some ways, America's identity, and therefore, merits specific protection."
Flights are scheduled to begin around midnight tonight and continue for about two hours early Friday morning. These exercises are carefully planned and closely controlled to ensure CONR's rapid-response capability.
CONR has conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout the U.S. since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command's response to the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001.
"We stand resilient and well-trained to ward off any (threats) or any kind of malevolent or accidental encroachment that could pose a threat to the Super Bowl," Colonel Richardson added.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, CONR fighters have responded to more than 2,300 possible air threats in the United States and have flown more than 54,000 sorties with the support of Airborne Warning and Control System and air-to-refueling aircraft.
"This exercise in Miami is an effective way to ensure all interagency partners are prepared for game day," said Maj. Gen. Garry Dean, CONR commander. "The exercise will test command and control and execution procedures for air defense for the Super Bowl and other like venues throughout the United States."
"Defending America's skies is our number one priority," General Dean said. "Whether it's Super Bowl Sunday or any other Sunday, the men and women of CONR are always on alert."