So far in 2014, NATO fighter jets scrambled roughly 400 times in response to increased Russian air activity near Europe, NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday 20 November during a visit to Estonia. The Baltic Air Policing mission alone performed more than 100 intercepts.
The number on intercepts near the Baltics is three times higher than in 2013, while NATO scrambles in total are 50 percent higher than last year. Stoltenberg described the Russian pattern as ‘risky and unjustified’, and remarked that ‘NATO continues to remain vigilant’. On his journey to Estonia, Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) F-16s operating from Malbork in Poland, escorted the aircraft that brought Stoltenberg to Estonia. See here for a pic.
NATO sounded the alarm bell over Russian airborne movements earlier this fall. See here for a quick round up of known intercepts. It would be interesting to know how exactly the number of 400 scrambles holds up against the yearly number of intercepts during the heights of the Cold War.
Later on Thursday, the NATO secretary general met Estonian, American and German troops at Ämari Air Base, home of part of the Baltic quick reaction alert (QRA).
© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest