Italian Air Force Eurofighter aircraft were launched for the first time to execute a NATO Air Policing mission over Montenegro.
In the morning of the 9th of April 2019 an Italian Air Force Eurofighter based at Gioia del Colle Air Base some 20 km south of Bari, Italy, was launched by NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejon, Spain.
According to a release, the mission was to intercept a civilian airliner that lost communications with civilian air traffic control over Croatia and was heading south towards Montenegro and Albania.
Eurofighter aircraft who are on alert to protect NATO airspace over Italy, Albania and Montenegro under the auspices of the Alliance, successfully intercepted the aircraft only a few minutes later.
The Eurofighter pilots a visual check of the aircraft to rule out illegal action, technical or any other issues.
It was established that the loss of communications was related to a misunderstanding between civilian air traffic control and the airliner crew. After resuming regular contact with the civilian controllers, the airliner continued to proceed to its destination to Hurghada, Egypt.