In a mission that's being termed routine, the Royal Air Force (RAF) of Great Britain and the Swedish Air Force intercepted Russian fighter jets near NATO and Swedish airspace on a recent Thursday evening. The escalation of tensions, albeit temporary, highlights the ongoing importance of airspace security for nations around the world.
Interception of Russian Aircraft
The British Typhoon plane and the Gripen plane of the Swedish Air Force were swiftly deployed to intercept a Russian Su-27 fighter plane and an Il-20 reconnaissance plane. This close proximity of Russian aircraft to NATO and Swedish airspace was met with immediate action, underscoring the vigilant surveillance in the region.
The RAF reported the event on their official Twitter account, stating, "RAF Typhoons and Swedish Air Force Gripens were scrambled this evening to intercept a Russian Air Force IL20 COOT A and Su-27 FLANKER B flying close to @NATO and Swedish airspace.
The RAF fighters from 140 EAW are currently deployed on NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission."
This interception took place while the RAF fighters were deployed as part of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission.
RAF Typhoons and Swedish Air Force Gripens were scrambled this evening to intercept a Russian Air Force IL20 COOT A and Su-27 FLANKER B flying close to @NATO and Swedish airspace.
The mission, launched in 2004, has NATO allies take turns patrolling the skies of Baltic states that lack the means to do so themselves.
Routine Procedure, Despite The Tension
Although the presence of the Russian aircraft near NATO and Swedish airspace might seem cause for concern, it was stressed that this interception was a routine occurrence, underscoring the constant vigilance required in the global arena of aerial defense.
The RAF, in a subsequent statement, pointed out, "The Russian aircraft were not complying with international norms and failed to communicate with the relevant Flight Information Regions (FIRs) however, remained in international airspace and flew in a professional manner." The Baltic states, including Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, do not possess their own air force and anti-aircraft defense systems.
As a result, they rely heavily on the protective umbrella of NATO partner countries to patrol the airspace near the borders of Russia and Belarus. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the important role these partner countries play in ensuring the security of airspace in these regions.
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