These Falcons made it to the Super Bowl
U.S. Air Force F-16C Fighting Falcon maintenance crews and pilots from the New Jersey Air National Guard's 177th Fighter Wing prepare for night flying training despite low temperatures and the remnants of Winter Storm Janus on Jan. 23, 2014. The 177th Fighter Wing is located at Atlantic City Air National Guard Base, N.J.
U.S. fighter jets will exercise Wednesday near the Meadowlands in preparation for the big game on Sunday, with 1st Air Force out of Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., taking the lead on flying.
Leslie Brown, the head of public affairs at 1st Air Force, Air Force Northern and Continental United States North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, known as CONR, said that F-16 Fighting Falcons will help patrol the skies over New York and New Jersey for the Seahawks-Broncos battle on Sunday night.
The FBI has the lead for air security, but Customs and other agencies will help keep the site safe.
The 177th Fighter Wing, a Guard unit based in Atlantic City, New Jersey, will be flying - with more birds on standby - around MetLife Stadium, the site of Super Bowl XLVIII.
Air defense exercise flights in the area of the stadium are expected to begin around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday and will go on for about an hour, officials said.
CONR has conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout the United States since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command's ongoing response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, they noted.
"On Super Bowl Sunday and every other day, the men and women of the Continental U.S. NORAD Region are on watch, making sure our skies are safe," Air Force Lt. Gen. William H. Etter, CONR commander, said in a news release announcing Wednesday's exercise.
Since 9/11, CONR fighters have responded to more than 5,000 possible air threats in the United States and have flown more than 62,500 sorties with the support of Airborne Warning and Control System and air-to-air-refueling aircraft for Operation Noble Eagle, officials said.