Norwegian F-16s close with MiG-31 and Su-34

Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16 fighters met not only a Russian Air Force MiG-31 Foxhound, but also Russia’s top of the bill Su-34 Fullback fighter jet late October. Two videos were released in the past month. One is rather stunning. It shows the head-up display view of a RNoAF F-16AM as it meets what appears to be a Russian MiG-31 Foxhound at 24,000 feet and at extremely close range, with the Norwegian pilot responding with a justifiable ‘what the hell!’

It is not certain where or when the encounter took place, but Norwegian sources confirm it was an intercept in late October. What is clear, is the view through the HUD as the Norwegian pilot banks to the left in a reflex. Sources mention the Russian type as a Su-34 Fullback, but the footage of that intercept was published earlier by Norwegian TV2 here. The channel also has a nice report here on the Foxhound encounter. The video that started circling the web on 1 December clearly shows a MiG-31 Foxhound long-range interceptor, coming as near as 70 feet.

According to the Norwegian Air Force, encounters this close are rare and it probably was by accident. NATO recently expressed concerns about Russian military aircraft endangering air traffic over western Europe, as the Russian mostly turn their identification equipment off.

NATO last week revealed it scrambled fighter aircraft over 400 times this year, in response to Russian airborne movements. On the other hand, it seems evident European air forces have no problems intercepting Russian aircraft lawfully flying in international airspace.

© 2014 editors Elmer van Hest and Marcel Burger