NATO air policing mission intercepts five Russian planes ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

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

NATO fighter jets stationed in the Baltic states as part of NATO's air policing mission were scrambled four times last week to identify and escort Russian military aircraft in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, the Lithuanian defence ministry reported.

On 13 February, a Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet was intercepted flying from mainland Russia to the Russian region of Kaliningrad. The plane was flying with its onboard transponder off, did not maintain radio communication with the regional air traffic control centre and had no pre-filed flight plan.

On 15 February, NATO jets were scrambled to intercept an Antonov An-72 flying from Kaliningrad to mainland Russia with its transponder off. It did, however, maintain radio communication with the regional air traffic control centre and also had a pre-filed flight plan. The NATO jets aborted the mission once the plane's crew had turned their aircraft's transponder on.

Also on 15 February, another transporter, an Antonov An-26 this time, was intercepted. The plane was flying from mainland Russia to Kaliningrad with its onboard transponder off. It maintained radio communication with the regional air traffic control centre, but did not have a pre-filed flight plan.

On 16 February, another Antonov An-26 was intercepted flying from Kaliningrad with its onboard transponder on. It maintained radio communication with the regional air traffic control centre and had a pre-filed flight plan, but turned around and returned to Kaliningrad.

Later on the same mission, NATO jets also intercepted a Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet flying to Kaliningrad. Its onboard transponder was off, it did not maintain radio communication and had no pre-filed flight plan, the Lithuanian defence ministry wrote in its news update.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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