Several NATO countries scramble their fighters to escort Russian bombers over Baltic sea
Several NATO countries have scrambled their fighter jets to escort a pair of Russian strategic bombers as they flew across the Baltic and North sea.
The Russian defense ministry said in a statement Thursday that “a pair of aircraft of Russian bombers were escorted by fighter jets F-16 of the Belgian Air Force, F-18 of the Finnish Air Force, F-15 of the US Air Force and JAS-39 of the Swedish Air Force during 70 minutes”, during routine flights over neutral waters of the Baltic and Norwegian seas.
“While performing a flight over the neutral waters of the Norwegian Sea, another pair of Tu-22M3 was escorted by F-16 fighter jets of the US Air Force during 27 minutes at some stages of the route,” the statement said.
The Russian military stressed its strategic planes have been carrying out routine missions in the Arctic, Atlantic, the Black Sea and the Pacific in line with an agreed schedule. All flights are in line with the international rules and do not violate the airspace of sovereign nations.
RAF jets were scrambled as well to intercept Russian bombers off the coast of Scotland in Britain’s latest military stand-off with Moscow.
The incident happened this morning and joins a series of recent aerial stand-offs over the North Sea between the Royal Air Force and the Russian Air Force.
The two Typhoon jets headed from RAF Lossiemouth to meet the Russian pilots who subsequently turned around meaning no direct interception occurred.
The flights of Tu-22M3, a modification of the TU-22M “Backfire,” were made in strict compliance with the international rules of using airspace without violating the borders of other countries, the ministry stressed. Pilots of Russia’s Long-Range Aviation regularly perform training flights over neutral waters of the Atlantic, the Arctic, the Black Sea and the Pacific Ocean, it said.
Other instances where RAF aircraft have been scrambled to a face off with Russian bombers in British airspace, include an incident in May when two Typhoons responded to a ‘quick alert’.
An Airbus Voyager KC3 tanker was also dispatched from Brize Norton in Oxfordshire and was tracked heading north before going into a holding pattern off the Aberdeenshire coast.