Border Watch: German jets scrambled to intercept Russian planes

Take note – story published 7 years ago

German and French jets on September 1 took over NATO's Baltic Air Patrol Mission and the German contingent based in Estonia scrambled for the first time to intercept an unidentified aircraft within hours of taking over the reigns from Britain's Royal Air Force.

The information was released, along with pictures of the intercept, by the German Air Force.

"Immediately after the formal acceptance of responsibility from the British Royal Air Force, the German Air Force... was given the job of identifying a Russian aircraft," an account of the incident said.

"This identification is necessary since Russian aircraft move mostly without active transponder signals in international airspace. Thus they can not be recognized by civil air traffic control and aviation operators," it explained.

The plane in question turned out to be a Tupolev 134 cargo plane.

But the day's work was still far from done. Two Russian Su-27s appeared on the scene from Kaliningrad.

The three planes were escorted over the Baltic Sea by the NATO interceptors until Swedish jets took over, according to the account.

Germany has four Eurofighters based in Estonia while France has four Mirages stationed in Lithuania, with a mission to patrol the airspace of all three Baltic states, which lack jets of their own. 

You can read more about the Baltic Air Policing mission at the NATO homepage HERE.

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