NATO interceptor aircraft responded to Russian military aircraft in international airspace to the North and Southeast of Europe on February the 9th and 10th, say the Alliance.
On February 9, two Norwegian fighter aircraft were launched from Bodø Air Base to intercept two TU-160 Russian long-range bombers off the coast of Norway.
In a separate event, NATO fighter aircraft from Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey on February 10, responded to several Russian military aircraft flying near NATO territory above the Black Sea.
“NATO’s Southern Combined Air Operations Centre at TorrejóUSn alerted fighter aircraft at air bases Mihail Kogalniceanu, Romania, Graf Ignatievo, Bulgaria, and Merzifon Air Base, Turkey, to respond to a group of Russian military aircraft operating over international airspace above the Black Sea. The Russian aircraft did not transmit a transponder code indicating their position and altitude, nor did they file a flight plan or communicate with air traffic controllers.”
This can create a hazard for civilian air traffic, say NATO.
The Russian formation included Tu-22 long-range bombers and fighter escorts. Romanian Air Force MiG-21 aircraft scrambled to intercept the group.
Bulgarian Air Force MiG-29 fighters were kept ready on stand-by and Turkish Air Force F-16 aircraft took off to fly a pattern ready to respond at any given time. The NATO interceptors returned to their respective base after the Russian military aircraft had left the area.
“Tracking the activity throughout, the Combined Air Operations Centre at Torrejón staff controlled coordinated and collective action from the Air Forces of the three Allies bordering States of the Black Sea. NATO fighter jets are on duty around the clock, ready to scramble in case of suspicious or unannounced flights near the airspace of our Allies. Air Policing is an important way in which NATO provides security for its members.”