Air defense exercise to be conducted in Savannah area May 16-20

By NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | May 07, 2010

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. –The Savannah Air National Guard Base will host more than 200 Soldiers, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen, while a U.S. Navy destroyer will patrol Georgia coastal waters, and military fighters and helicopters and federal aircraft will cruise the skies while participating in a major North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command air defense exercise later this month.

A Deployable-Integrated Air Defense System exercise will take place at the Savannah ANG Base and in nearby Savannah May 16-20. It is part of Ardent Sentry 10, a Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, NORAD-NORTHCOM-sponsored homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities exercise.

Local residents will see a minor influx of people and equipment moving into and out of the Savannah area a few days before and after the actual exercise starts and ends.

Close coordination will be maintained with the Federal Aviation Administration throughout the exercise as Air Force, Customs and Border Protection and Civil Air Patrol, along with U.S. Coast Guard and National Guard jets, fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters fly in the local area.

Air Force F-16s will provide interdiction of high and fast aircraft while a Customs and Border Protection Cessna Citation (C-550) and USCG H-65 Dolphin helicopters will be responsible for the interdiction of low and slow aircraft.

As the Continental U.S. geographical component of the bi-national North American Aerospace Defense Command, Continental U.S. NORAD Region provides airspace surveillance and control and directs all air sovereignty activities.

From their Air and Space Operations Center here, the CONR commander and his staff will direct Air Force, Army, Navy and Coast Guard assets, ensuring the air sovereignty and air defense of the continental United States.

During the exercise, CONR will demonstrate a rapidly deployable air defense system which could protect high profile national targets against cruise missiles and other low-flying threats.

Deployable- Integrated Air Defense System assets will be brought from South Carolina to the Savannah area where they will remain throughout the duration of the exercise.

The U.S.S. James E. Wilson (DDG-95), a U.S. Navy Aegis-equipped destroyer which uses computers and radars to track and destroy enemy targets, is currently scheduled to participate in the exercise. The ship will patrol out to sea off the Georgia coast.

“This exercise provides us with the opportunity to train for potential scenarios which could affect the Continental U.S.,” said Maj. Gen. Garry Dean, CONR commander. “Exercises like this allow us to review processes and procedures and focus our future training efforts to identifying areas that may need attention.”

There will be no night flying by Air Force and Air National Guard aircraft, while there will be some night flying by the Civil Air Patrol. Additionally, there will be no live munitions involved in the exercise.

Units participating in the exercise include:

• Continental U.S. NORAD Region commander and his staff will direct Air Force, Army and Navy assets from the 601st Air and Space Operations Center at Tyndall., ensuring the air sovereignty and air defense of the continental United States.

• Georgia National Guard’s Savannah Combat Readiness Training Center will provide logistical support, including lodging and meals.

• 20th Fighter Wing F-16 Fighting Falcons from Shaw AFB, S.C., U.S. Coast Guard H-65 Dolphin helicopters from USCG Station Savannah and a Customs and Border Protection Cessna Citation (C-550) from Jacksonville, Fla., will serve as interceptors.

• South Carolina National Guard’s 263rd Army Air and Missile Defense Command will deploy the Avenger short-range air defense and Sentinel radar systems.

• The U.S. Navy’s U.S.S. James E. Wilson (DDG-95), an Aegis-equipped destroyer, is currently scheduled to patrol out to sea off the Georgia coast.

• Georgia Air National Guard’s 283rd Combat Communications Squadron from Dobbins ARB and Rhode Island’s 282nd Combat Communications from North Springfield will deploy communication teams to provide secure data and voice networks for the exercise.

• The Eastern Air Defense Sector, based in Rome, N.Y., will detect, identify, track and scramble fighters if need be to intercept unknown or threatening airborne objects.

• 458th Airlift Squadron C-21s from Scott AFB, Ill., and Georgia Wing of the Civil Air Patrol Cessna 182s will serve as high and low-level “tracks of interest’” for the exercise participants.