If you're seeing or hearing some defense aircraft in the skies Saturday morning, here's an explanation from NORAD public affairs:
The Continental United States North American Aerospace Defense Command Region (CONR) will conduct flight operations Saturday morning in the National Capital Region.
The training flights are held in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Capital Region (NCR) Coordination Center, the Joint Air Defense Operations Center (JADOC), the Potomac Consolidated Terminal Radar Approach Control Facility, Civil Air Patrol, and CONR’s Eastern Air Defense Sector.
Flights in the area are scheduled to take place between 7:20 and 8:10 a.m.
These training flights are designed to hone NORAD’s intercept and identification operations as well as operationally test the NCR Visual Warning System. Several U.S. Air Force aircraft will participate in these flights.
Training flights are carefully planned and closely controlled to ensure CONR’s rapid response capability. NORAD has conducted flights of this nature throughout the United States and Canada since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command’s response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
In the event of inclement weather, the exercise will take place the following morning. If bad weather continues, officials will then make a decision to postpone or cancel the mission.
As the Continental United States geographical component of the bi-national command NORAD, CONR provides airspace surveillance and control, and directs air sovereignty activities for the CONUS region. CONR and its assigned Air Force and Army assets throughout the country ensure air safety and security against potential air threats.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, CONR fighters have responded to more than 3,400 possible air threats in the United States and have flown more than 59,000 sorties with the support of Airborne Warning and Control System and air-to-air-refueling aircraft.