NATO jets scrambled six times last week in Baltic air policing duties

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

NATO fighter jets reportedly engaged in the identifying and escorting of Russian Federation military aircraft six times in the week commencing 18 March.

According to the Lithuanian defence ministry, as quoted by BNS, the six incidents principally involved escorting Russian military jets and transport planes, in international airspace over the Baltic Sea.

The Russian planes escorted included a Sukhoi Su-30 multirole fighter, and an Antonov An-12 turboprop transport plane.

A total of seven Russian planes' flights were responded to, according to the ministry; several of them had not kept in radio contact with regional air traffic control, nor filed a pre-flight plan, nor had onboard transponders functioning.

NATO's Baltic air policing is carried out from two air bases, at Ämari, west of Tallinn, and Šiauliai in northern Lithuania. Since Russian planes often fly to and from bases in the Kaliningrad exclave, which borders with Lithuania but is separated from the Russian ''mainland'', NATO escorting and intercepting flights of this nature over the Baltic are frequent occurrences.

NATO nations to have recently contributed to the air policing role at Ämari include Germany, Denmark and Belgium.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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