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NORAD exercise will increase military air traffic in Yellowknife, Inuvik

Yellowknife and Inuvik residents will notice an increase in military air traffic between June 10 and 18, as the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) hosts a training exercise.

Exercise AMLAGAM DART is part of NORAD’s training to prepare against air attacks against either the U.S. or Canada. The operation trains NORAD staffers on how to perform Operation NOBLE EAGLE, the name for the military response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“In order to test responses, systems and equipment, NORAD routinely conducts exercises, all year and in various weather conditions with a variety of scenarios, including airspace restriction violations, hijackings and responding to unknown aircraft,” a statement from a NORAD spokesperson said.

Despite the increase in air traffic at the Yellowknife and Inuvik airports, the planes should be flying high enough and in remote enough areas that they shouldn’t be heard or seen when travelling, according to a statement from a NORAD spokesperson.

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U.S. military personnel who are taking part in the exercise will have to have two negative COVID-19 tests, and precautions have been taken to minimize NORAD staffers contact with communities.

The exercise will also be using airports in Cold Lake, Iqaluit, Goose Bay, and Thule AB, Greenland. 

NORAD, initially created under the name North American Air Defense Command, started in 1957 to respond to potential threats from the U.S.S.R during the Cold War. 

One of the biggest concerns was U.S.S.R. bombers coming south from the Arctic to target Canadian and U.S. cities, making exercises in northern Canada a big part of NORAD’s operations in the past.

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