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NORAD practices plan to protect Super Bowl

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 27, 2006) -- The North American Aerospace Defense Command on Jan. 26 practiced its plan to protect Detroit's Ford Field from an air attack on Super Bowl Sunday, a concern spawned by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The exercise run by the joint Canadian and American command, which defends North American from missile and air attacks, was hampered by "weather issues" and will be redone next week, Canadian Forces Maj. Darren Steele said.

Hundreds of people, including controllers, fighter pilots, an E-3 Airborne Early Warning and Control System aircraft, several civilian aircraft and air refueling tankers took part in the exercise. Their exercise Feb. 1 will be of the same scale.

"They didn't get to run through as much as they wanted to, so they thought it's worth our time and we want to run through it again," Steele said. "When we do exercises like this, if the weather interferes, we'll continue until the objectives are met."

Steele did not say what weaknesses were revealed or what scenarios were practiced during the five-hour exercise.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, NORAD jets have patrolled the skies through Operation Noble Eagle. Fighters have responded to more than 2,000 air events in the United States and Canada and have flown more than 40,000 sorties.

The Super Bowl will be played Feb. 5.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2006, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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