File photo

The North American Aerospace Defense Command will conduct an air defense exercise involving fighter jets, small aircraft and a helicopter overnight in the D.C. area.

The exercise, called Falcon Virgo, will take place between 12:30 and 2:30 a.m. Tuesday.

F-16 fighters, an MH-65 D Dolphin helicopter, and two Civil Air Patrol Cessna 182T aircraft will participate, NORAD said in a news release.

Some portions of the exercise may involve flights at approximately 2,500 feet and may be visible from the ground. If weather prevents regularly scheduled flights, the exercise will commence the next day. 

NORAD routinely conducts exercises with a variety of scenarios, including airspace restriction violations, hijackings and responses to unknown aircraft. All NORAD exercises are carefully planned and closely controlled.

Falcon Virgo is a recurring exercise in support of Operation NOBLE EAGLE, which places emphasis on the surveillance and control of airspace over Canada and the United States.

For more than 60 years, NORAD aircraft have identified and intercepted potential air threats to North America, as well as Canadian and U.S. internal waterways and maritime approaches under its maritime warning mission.

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