The Swedish Air Force made mistakes on Wednesday 17 September when two Russian Sukhoi Su-24 jet bombers invaded Swedish airspace south of the island of Öland in the Baltic Sea.
Initially only one Flygvapnet JAS 39 Gripen was sent to identify the low flying bombers an aircraft from Ronneby Airbase that was already tasked for a training mission, Swedish national newspaper Expressen reported first. The Gripens standing ready at Alpha Scramble alert positions at both Visby on the island of Gotland and Ronneby in the southwest – or Incidentberedskap in Swedish – were sent off fairly late, when the Russian Fencers (NATO-reporting name) were already on their way home.
Swedish radar operators are said to have been able to track the incoming aircraft already when they flew from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, first westbound near the coast of Poland, bended off to the Danish island of Bornholm and then headed to the Swedish island of Öland.
The slow reaction by the Swedish armed forces has resulted in the Swedish government demanding a thorough report, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt confirmed Thursday evening. The incident became public after the Swedish daily newspaper Expressen reported it on its website.
The Swedish Armed Forces released a small statement Thursday evening. “Försvarsmakten does not comment an event before an analysis has been made. That analysis includes the technical systems involved. Only after the analysis is finished and the exact situation has been clarified, the Armed Forces will take a decision about how to deal with it, both within as well as outside the authorities.”
NATO was more up and about, with Quick Reaction Alert F-16s scrambling to intercept the Su-24s, reported the Latvian National Armed Forces (NBS) on Thursday. Currently the Baltic Air Policing covering the Baltic republics Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania consists of German EF2000s operating from Ämari in Estonia, 4 Portuguese F-16s and 6 Canadian CF-188s operating from Šiauliai Airbase in Lithuania and five Dutch F-16s operating from Malbork in Poland. The NBS did not confirm if it were Dutch or Portuguese F-16s that were scrambled for today’s intercept.
© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-24 (Cy-24) taking off in 2011 (Image (CC) Alex Beltykov)