NATO jets scrambled last week to identify, escort Russian military plane

Typhoon fighter jet of the Royal Air Force intercepting a Russian Sukhoi Su-27. Image is illustrative
Typhoon fighter jet of the Royal Air Force intercepting a Russian Sukhoi Su-27. Image is illustrative Source: Royal Air Force

Fighter jets stationed in the Baltic states as part of the NATO air policing mission carried out one alert scramble last week to identify and escort military aircraft of the Russian Federation in the international airspace over the Baltic Sea, the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense said.

On July 17, NATO jets intercepted a Sukhoi Su-30 flying from mainland Russia to Kaliningrad with its onboard transponder off, which had no pre-filed flight plan and was not maintaining radio communication with the regional air traffic control center.

The NATO Baltic air policing mission is being carried out from Lithuania and Estonia.

15 fighter jets guarding Baltic airspace after Germans join NATO air policing mission

Fifteen fighter aircraft are currently guarding the airspace over Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia after NATO's Baltic air policing mission was reinforced by Eurofighters of the German Air Force.  

The German detachment from the Tactical Fighter Wing 21 was additionally deployed to Siauliai last week under a bilateral agreement between Germany and the United Kingdom, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry said on Monday. 

In Siauliai, the Germans joined a UK detachment that is carrying the mission jointly with a Spanish detachment.

Lt. Col. Stu Gwinnutt, the officer commanding the UK detachment, said that "such cooperation offers unique training and operation conduct opportunities not only to pilots but also to engineers providing service to the aircraft of different air forces."

NATO member states have taken turns safeguarding Baltic airspace since Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined the alliance back in 2004.

Spanish, British and German fighter aircraft are currently operating from Siauliai, while French jets are conducting the mission from Ämari, Estonia. 

Germany is taking part in the mission for the sixth time.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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