Russia Joins NATO Counter terror Exercise for First Time

This is interesting; NATO and Russian air forces conducted their first ever joint counter-terrorism exercise this week. It gets even better considering the fact that of all NATO air forces, it was the former Warsaw Pact turned NATO member Polish air force that was actually flying an air intercept mission with their Russian counterparts during the Vigilant Skies '11 air defense exercise over the Black Sea and Poland.

From AFP:

The unprecedented exercise began the morning of June 7 with the departure of a Polish CASA 295M aircraft from Krakow simulating a hijacked civilian aircraft. Two Polish F-16s from the Krzesiny air base near Poznan, central Poland, later intercepted the "renegade" aircraft and then handed the mission over to two Russian Sukhoi jets that guided the plane to the northern Polish city of Malbork.

"This was the first time in history when there was co-operation between Russian and NATO fighters in this kind of a scenario," NATO exercise director Czech Colonel Petr Mikulenka told reporters in Warsaw.

The whole exercise is under the aegis of the NATO-Russia Council's Cooperative Aerospace Initiative whihc is aimed at preventing a 9/11-style terrorist attack by sharing radar imagery between NATO and Russian air controllers and coordinating fighter intercepts of rogue planes.

The exercise continued today with three Turkish F-16s and two Russian Sukhois slated to intercept a rogue plane over the Black Sea, according to the article.

What's next, legit cooperation on missile defense?

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