NATO fighter jets scrambled around 370 times across Europe in 2021, mostly to check aircraft flying unannounced near Allied air space.

Around 80 percent of the missions, 290 in total, were in response to flights by Russian military aircraft, say NATO here.

This is normal and routine, however, this year represents a small uptick compared to recent previous years.

“NATO fighter jets are on duty around the clock, ready to take off in case of unverified flights near the airspace of our Allies,” said NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu. “NATO is vigilant, and we will always do what it takes to protect and defend all Allies.”

Most of the intercepts in 2021 occurred in the Baltic region, where NATO operates an air-policing mission for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

“NATO has similar missions for Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Slovenia. Allies also help to police the skies of Romania, Bulgaria and Iceland. Generally, intercepts occurred without incident as NATO planes take off to identify the approaching aircraft and escort it out of the area. Very few intercepted flights entered Allied airspace.

Across Europe, over 60 NATO jets are on high alert at all times, ready to respond to unannounced military flights, as well as to civilian aircraft losing communication with air-traffic controllers for any reason – which could range from technical problems to hijacking. NATO has two air operations centres – one in Germany, covering northern Europe, and one in Spain covering the south – which monitor all air movements across Europe. “

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Mark B
Mark B
21 days ago

They seem to work hard at giving the impression the plane is about to fall apart due to neglect😀

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
20 days ago

I guess we have 4 Typhoons on QRA at any time at 2 bases (North and South), so only 4 out of 60 are UK jets – sounds a bit lightweight for Global Britain.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
20 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

More are in reserve. The QRA aircraft have near immediate availability. I think another dozen+ could be prepped and launched within 1-2 hours.

Steve R
Steve R
20 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Not really. That’s 4 Typhoons on QRA to cover UK airspace but we frequently have aircraft deployed to the air policing missions mentioned above in the Baltics etc. Even if only a flight of 4 planes plus our QRA, 8 out of 60 isn’t bad.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
19 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

And another 4 in the Falklands , and 8 Typhoons in Cyprus for Op Shader with daily sorties over Syria.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
16 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

The 4 Typhoons in the Falklands are not all on QRA – maybe 1 or 2 are.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
19 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

In my opinion, Global Britain is primarily about trade and politics Graham, getting people weened off being stuck in a inward self protectionist EU and going out into the world forming alliances and new trading partnerships. It is not a measure of combat power regards numbers. Capability wise we are indeed global if some wish to link the two. Some lefties like to jump on the term because of the chip on the shoulder they have sizzling regards Empire, colonialism, and the temerity of a majority who voted to leave. Regards QRA, unsure but even in the 80s cold war… Read more »

Last edited 19 days ago by Daniele Mandelli
dave12
dave12
19 days ago

Well its been a long time since Brexit DM if any benefits of leaving our main trading partner have occurred I’m still waiting ,being short of needed foreign workers taking up jobs us brits don’t want todo for one , and you would think this global Britain Idea you would hope of a expanded military , that’s not happened either, but we are still the 5th Richest nation in the world so we have not exactly declined just yet.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
19 days ago
Reply to  dave12

Depends what “benefits” are important to you dave.
People didn’t leave for economic reasons and after being tied by the umbilicle cords for over 40 years its not going to happen overnight. Those who highlight that only only oppose and wish for its failure.
I do believe food is still in shops, medicine is still in pharmacists, despite what every scare story claimed since 2015 we’re still here and the sky has not caved in.
Yes, you’d hope for a bigger military, as usual it’s cuts so far.
Happy New year to you dave.

dave12
dave12
19 days ago

Yes well I fined myself caught in the middle , I was a remainder but got really put off when the EU put a law through trying to stop influence of British drama and I found Merkal and Macron to be idiots, I just want this global Britain Idea to be backed up otherwise why throw away are biggest trading partner, as you say time will tell Happy New year too Daniele

Last edited 19 days ago by dave12
Graham Moore
Graham Moore
16 days ago
Reply to  dave12

We are still trading with the EU27, just in a different way.
On leaving the EU we were also free to craft trade deals with the other 170+ countries in the world.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
20 days ago

There is another side to this. Every time NATO scrambles it is in response to Russian air activity. Therefore Russia is incurring costs and time off their airframes. NATOs air fleet is larger than Russias therefore proportionately more wear and tear to Russian aircraft.