A Tu-22M3 Backfire of the Russian Air Force (Image (CC) Alex Beltyukov)

Russian Backfires ignite loads of scrambles

A Tu-22M3 Backfire of the Russian Air Force (Image (CC) Alex Beltyukov)
A Tu-22M3 Backfire of the Russian Air Force (Image (CC) Alex Beltyukov)

LATEST UPDATE 5 OCTOBER 2014 (GERMAN AIR FORCE INTERCEPT) | Several air forces scrambled on Sunday 21 September to intercept a small but powerful Russian Air Force package cruising over the Baltic Sea, one of Sweden’s leading military experts, journalist Mikael Holmström, made public via his newspaper Svenska Dagbladet on 25 September 2014.

Two fast and heavy strategic Tu-22M bombers (NATO-name Backfire) escorted by a pair of Sukhoi Su-27 air-supiority fighters (NATO-name Flanker) had airbases all around the Baltic Sea on full alert.

Several sources confirmed that Finland directed at least a pair of McDonnell Douglas F-18C or D Hornets, normally based at Kuopio/Rissala, to the cruising Russian Air Force package. Sweden scrambled a pair of its SAAB JAS 39C Gripen jets from Ronneby Airbase near Karlskrona. Danish General Dynamics (Lockheed Martin) F-16s – with their home at Skrydstrup on the mainland – headed for the Russian bombers and escorts as well.

From Šiauliai in Lithuania NATO command launched at least two of the Portuguese F-16AMs based there as rotating Baltic Air Policing assets. It is unconfirmed if the Luftwaffe EF2000s at Laage in Germany reacted with their Eurofighter EF2000s, or that the Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16s or Polish Air Force MiG-29s from Malbork were scrambled. It is known that the Germans have huge issues with the availability of their EF2000s.

Portuguese Air Force (Força Aerea Portuguesa) F-16BM with serial 15139 takes off (Image © Marcel Burger)
A Portuguese Air Force (Força Aerea Portuguesa) F-16BM in ‘go’ mode. Archive photo.
(Image © Marcel Burger)

German Air Force
But on the same day the German Air Force at Ämari in Estonia did scramble a pair of its EF2000s to intercept two Russian Su-27s coming from the St. Petersburg area, which might have been the bomber escorts or a second flight of Russian Flankers. The German jets just made a quick circular flight clockwise around the Estonian capital of Tallinn intercepting the Russians while they were travelling westbound over the waters between Finland and the Baltics, according to Luftwaffe reports.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger

A German Air Force EF2000 photographed from an Estonian L-410 (Image © Eesti Kaitsevägi)
A German Air Force EF2000 photographed from an Estonian L-410 (Image © Eesti Kaitsevägi)