In 2023, NATO air forces across Europe scrambled well over 300 times to intercept Russian military aircraft approaching Alliance airspace, with most intercepts occurring over the Baltic Sea.

NATO has standing air-policing missions that calls for Allied jets to scramble when there are signs of Russian military planes approaching Allied airspace in unpredictable ways.

According to the Alliance:

“Along NATO’s eastern flank, Russian military aircraft have a history of not transmitting a transponder code indicating their position and altitude, not filing a flight plan, or did communicating with air traffic controllers. The vast majority of aerial encounters between NATO and Russian jets were safe and professional. Breaches of NATO airspace by Russian military aircraft remained rare and generally of short duration. 

In the wake of Russia’s war in Ukraine, NATO has substantially reinforced its air defences on its eastern flank, including with more fighter jets, surveillance flights and ground-based air defences. After repeated Russian strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure very close to NATO territory, Allies deployed extra fighter jets to Romania. In October, after subsea pipelines ruptured in the Baltic Sea, NATO sent additional capabilities to the region.”

“Russia’s war against Ukraine has created the most dangerous security situation in Europe in decades,” said acting NATO Spokesperson Dylan White.

“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 our Allies,” he added.

Tom has spent the last 13 years working in the defence industry, specifically military and commercial shipbuilding. His work has taken him around Europe and the Far East, he is currently based in Scotland.
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maurice10
maurice10
3 months ago

One can’t help but wonder how long before some hot head goes too far. The situation is more dangerous now than at the start of the Ukrainian War. The Russian plan to crush Ukraine failed to cause a rapid rethink and today the responses could become more spitful and revengeful, as global support wanes. Britain once again is at the forefront of support and this should remain unwavering regardless of how our allies behave.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
3 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

There was one hot head attempt on a UK RIVET where a missile was actually fired.

It failed to hit anything I suspect because of EW being deployed as the threat to the frame and crew justified it.

Shaun
Shaun
3 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

So long as the leadership of the Muscovite empire believe NATO will do nothing (and that is the message they are reading regardless what we intend) they will keep pushing. Poland missed a perfect opportunity to send a message without bloodshed in not shooting down the missile that clearly and intentionally invaded their air space.

lordtemplar
lordtemplar
3 months ago

it may be worth mentioning that this is down 47% from previous year

Cymbeline
Cymbeline
3 months ago
Reply to  lordtemplar

Could this be due to the attention being drawn to area’s of their Special Op? I assume these figures will climb again and even increase with Finland/Sweden to add to their area of interests.

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
3 months ago
Reply to  Cymbeline

With Norway, Denmark and Finland able to QRA with F-35 the orcs are badly outclassed.
Swedens QRA probably not too shabby with Saab either..
Does seem like a fairly pointless exercise now the Baltic is a NATO sea…

Shaun
Shaun
3 months ago

If I was a russian pilot I think I would be far happier flying near NATO air space, nice and safe, no one is going to shoot me down, being anywhere near the 3 day invasion, oops sorry, SMO is likely to end badly.

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
3 months ago
Reply to  Shaun

Yes, quite a bit of red on red from jumpy S-400 operators. Tu-22s prefer to launch missiles over the Caspian Sea and use their range and speed though it seems that Patriot and Iris-T are able to shoot down 73% on a bad day up to 100% on a good day.

Slava Ukraine! 🇺🇦

Tom
Tom
3 months ago

So the next time this happens, shoot them down. That will send a clear messag back to sputin and chairman ho or whatever the chinese fellas name is.

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
3 months ago
Reply to  Tom

kaputin and chairman Xi, plus rocket man and mad mullahs.

farouk
farouk
3 months ago

A very interesting video clip on Twitter regards the latest Chinese carrier and a new stealth aircraft:
MEMRI
MEMRIReports
Dec 28
Chinese J-35 Jet Spotted on Fujian Aircraft Carrier

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago

Are there comparable figures as to how many times NATO ac were intercepted by Russia?

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
3 months ago

Do we even bother testing their QRA or is RC-135W Rivet Joint and P-8 Posidon enough ISTAR AEW for us, until E-7 Wedgetail is available (2025)?
I thought our Typhoons were busy on something more productive…

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  lonpfrb

I don’t know if NATO do that, which indeed was my thought. I guess it would play right into Putin’s hands with the scenario of the aggressive NATO he and his 5th column in the west wish to promote.
I”ve only ever read mostly Cold War era stuff, so RC135, Nimrod, Canberra, SR71, U2, and the varied SAC bombers all operating on the periphery, or even inside.

Today, not aware beyond the usual ISTAR types that you mention, bar Wedgetail, which wouldn’t be used that way.

SailorBoy
SailorBoy
3 months ago

I have heard of several incidents of US aircraft over the Black Sea getting buzzed by Russian Jets. I don’t think it’s happened to UK aircraft but there have certainly been some close calls with RC-135 and Predator drones, with the intention clearly being to damage or take down the drone with aggressive manoeuvres.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  SailorBoy

They’ve a history of that. Back in the Cold War SU15 Flagons and earlier Migs rammed on occasion.