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Allies in Pixel Skies: US and Canadian forces linked computers for NORAD's first, real-time binational simulated air defense exercise. "These scenarios have always been executed in a US-only environment," said Steve Boe, Air Forces Northern's distributed mission operations simulator program manager. In one scenario, Canadian F-18 pilots were able to simulate intercepting a hijacked airliner and handing off to US F-15s as the aircraft entered US airspace. The exercise "provided a multi-regional realism we've never experienced before using DMO," added Boe. Given the proximity of US and Canadian airspace, "threats can easily transition from their area of operation to ours," underscored Brig. Gen. Christopher Coates, deputy commander of the Continental US NORAD Region. The Nov. 17 exercise incorporated California Air National Guard pilots with the 144th Fighter Wing for the first time as well. They flew in simulators at their home base in Fresno. (Tyndall report by Angela Pope)