Every year airmen and women undergo a series of tough command and control exercises to test their ability to respond to a wide variety of threats from around the world.
Vigilant Shield, carried out by the Canadian North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD), and Global Thunder, by Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) are usually carried out around November.
But Express.co.uk can reveal NORAD has started its ‘Vigilant Shield’ exercise today, believed to have been brought forward from their scheduled date.
Global Thunder is also thought to have been brought forward, according to a DEFCON watchdog which uses contacts from within the military and US government to share nuclear war information.
Citizens have been warned to expect an increased military presence and flights overhead from October 17 until October 21 as the Vigiland Shield exercises are carried out.
The NORAD-run operation will see live-fly field training undertaken in CF-18 fighter jets, which will be flown over the Canadian town of Inuvik.
A statement from the organisation said: “Security at the base in Inuvik will be reinforced and the public can also expect to see military flights as part of the training scenarios.
“During VIGILANT SHIELD 17, Inuvik is one of several locations hosting the exercise”s live-fly field training. Inuvik will be hosting CF-18 fighter jets from the Royal Canadian Air Force.
“NORAD forces will be supported by Canadian NORAD Region Headquarters in Winnipeg; the Canadian Air Defence Sector at 22 Wing North Bay; and Canadian Forces Station Alert, Nunavut.”
The news comes just days after conspiracy theorist website DEFCON Warning System urged US citizens to prepare for a nuclear attack.
It claimed the US military had upgraded its DEFCON alert system, which indicates the current level of threat of nuclear war, to level three – meaning the US could mobilise troops in just 15 minutes.
Tweeting yesterday, they have now claimed the US air force has also rushed forward this year’s annual Global Thunder – citing the threat from Russia as a potential cause.
The tweet said: “ATTN all monitors: Looks like Vigilant Shield and Global Thunder is going on as planned and scheduled to start tomorrow- perhaps tonight.”
It later confirmed: “US to begin exercises “Vigilant Shield” and “Global Thunder” within the next 24 hours.”
Relations between the US and Russia have detonated rapidly over the last few months – leaving many world leaders fearing war could break out at any moment.
Russian citizens have been encouraged to find bomb shelters and gas masks, as state-sponsored infomercials on television gave out guidelines on how people should prepare for a nuclear attack.
President Vladimir Putin meanwhile has ordered the evacuation of 40 million people in a military drill.
He also transferred nuclear-capable Iskander ballistic missiles to one of its strategic Baltic regions last week, in what officials claim was part of regular military manoeuvres.
Meanwhile the US has been seen painting it’s fighter jets in Russian colours, in what critics claim is in an attempt to frame Syria using false flag attacks on Syria following the breakdown of a ceasefire.
Express.co.uk has contacted the US Department of Defence for comment.