UPDATED 05/18/12 12:37 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — U.S. fighter jets will be actively flying over Chicago on Friday as part of a security drill in the days before the NATO Summit.
The U.S. North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) Command Region fighters — including Air Force KC-135 tankers, Air Force F-16s, and a Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopters — were visible over downtown Chicago starting around 9 a.m. CBS 2’s Dave Savini got a look at the aircraft from the roof of the CBS 2 Broadcast Center, 22 W. Washington St.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports
The flights continued for approximately two hours.
“Providing the air defense for special security events like this year’s NATO Summit is a part of our day-to-day mission,” said Lt. Gen. Sid Clarke, Continental U.S. NORAD Region commander said in a statement. “Our interagency partnerships are a key component to the air defense shield for events like this.”
NORAD has been conducting these types of missions since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as part of their ongoing training.
During the NATO Summit, Air Force fighter jets will be on alert to enforce the Federal Aviation Administration’s Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) zone during the summit. Military jets have been authorized to shoot down any aircraft that violates secure airspace over Chicago.
Also on Thursday, the Pentagon commented about a You Tube video posted earlier this week that purportedly showed a surveillance drone flying over an athletic field in Elgin–about 40 miles from McCormick Place, where NATO leaders will meet on Sunday and Monday.
The Chicago Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet reported the issue came up at a Pentagon press briefing.
Defense Department spokesman George Little said he couldn’t comment on the specific incident but added that “the U.S. military is providing a support role .. to support security for the summit. That’s in accordance with American law.”
It is unclear whether the video is authentic. Military sources contacted by CBS 2 said they did not recognize the markings on the unidentified object.