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.”

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Daniele Mandelli

Backfires, but I see what you mean Geoff.

Sunny here, by some miracle!


Hello Daniele. Hope you are all well my friend. I see it has been freezing in the UK-my Belfast cousin was complaining bitterly about queuing for his Covid jab in minus 2 degrees!! Durban today peaked at 29 degrees in clear skies but not all paradise -uncomforably hot and humid so in my aircon office. The Russians as you know, copied much western technology,some such as Concordski and Harrierski not so successfull! Funnily enough the F111 was called the GD F111 Aardvark, which is the Afrikaans name for one of the Anteater family. It literally means Earth Pig in English.… Read more »


Had another look at the F111-not as similar as i thought but both swing wing?

Daniele Mandelli

Similar enough to understand your comparison, my friend.

Daniele Mandelli

Yes, thank you. Minus 6 last night locally. Earth Pig is apt given the F111’s low level penetration role, though I understand the name was more to do with the length of its nose, like the anteater.

USAF had two wings worth based here once.

I’m a fan of Soviet aircraft designs, so would love to see a Backfire for real.

Captain P Wash

They flew over on their way to Libya a few decades back , proper noisy they were too.


How much trust do NATO partners have in Turkey in situations like this involving Russia ?

Steve R

Not a great amount I imagine.


I think the F35 and SAM issue has really strained things. Geopolitically, would we be averse to a strong Turkey taking up the mantle in Asia? I know Erdogan is a bit too fundamental for our tastes but weakening Putin in Armenia etc won’t hurt will it?


Turkey is playing one off of the other that tactic you allude to would be a very dangerous game for the West to take joy in. Turkey under its present leader would love nothing more than to reclaim portions of eastern Europe it sees as being rightly its terrirory while it would effectively give it control over swathes of the Middle East where it will conflict with Iran and influence over former Russian Muslim majority Balkan states. Now yes on the surface that looks like if we ignore the wider questions and decline of western/European influence look like a nice… Read more »

Andy a

Surely he was just threatening to get Europe to contribute what they should? He wasn’t serious was he?


Mig 21s, someone is getting their moneys worth out of them!

The fact that USAF colonel Robin Olds described them as a disappointing aircraft back in the late 60s doesn’t bode well for their usefulness today though…


I dunno I think they did what they said on the tin in the 60’s and 70’s and certainly put the wind up the yanks in Vietnam. Obviously well past it as frontline fighters now and just a prestige asset for the countries that operate them these days.


These are old beauties from the Soviet past!

Daniele Mandelli

Aren’t they just!

Though my main area of interest Soviet aircraft wise are those from the old PVO, actually a separate service from the Air Force. Tu128 Fiddler, SU15 Flagon, M31 Foxhound. Oh my.

Last edited 20 days ago by Daniele Mandelli

Fiddler… That was a big interceptor.

Daniele Mandelli

Biggest ever interceptor I believe.