A French Mirage 2000 scrambles from Malbork Airbase in Poland in June 2014 (Image © AdlA / Ministère de la Défense)

French Mirages in Poland scramble for nosy IL-20s

A French Mirage 2000 scrambles from Malbork Airbase in Poland in June 2014 (Image © AdlA / Ministère de la Défense)
A French Mirage 2000 scrambles from Malbork Airbase in Poland in June 2014
(Image © AdlA / Ministère de la Défense)

The French Mirage 2000s deployed to Malbork Airbase in Poland as part of the support of NATO’s eastern flank, mainly “combat” nosy Russian Ilyushin IL-20 reconnaissance aircraft – sometimes on a daily basis. Besides that, they train together with Polish Air Force MiG-29 to improve both forces’s interoperability.

This is clear from the operation reports released by the French Ministry of Defence. The first week of July was typical for the French mission, where Mirage 2000s have relieved the Rafales France sent initially to beef up NATO’s air cover in the light of Russian pressure on Ukraine.

From the operation reports: On 7 July 2014 the warning siren sound at 12:30 local time, with a pair Mirages taking off to identify what happened to be a Russian military IL-20 flying over an area of the Baltic Sea without permission. The aircraft entered the airspace of the Baltic states without plan or flight authorization. Interception was made at 12:50. On 8 July a it took the Mirages three minutes after alert to intercept – once again – a IL-20 in the same area. The French ministry didn’t disclose if it was the same aircraft or not.

The French detachment at Malbork consists of four fighter aircraft and a hundred personnel. After It is active since 6 May 2014. Since June the French deployed Mirage 2000s, including at least one Mirage 2000C and a Mirage 2000-5. That they were going to replace the Rafales sent earlier was already announced earlier by the Polish Ministry of Defence.

Source: Ministère de la Défense with additional reporting by Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger

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