In the stream of “extraordinary” – as NATO puts it – Russian air activity of the Baltic Sea in the last couple of weeks a nice new video was released on 10 December by the Netherlands Ministry of Defense. Two of its Lockheed Martin (General Dynamics) F-16AM Fighting Falcons intercepted a pair of Sukhoi Su-34s. These are Russia’s newest, state-of-the-art strike aircraft.
The F-16s scrambled from Malbork Airbase in Poland, where the Dutch have their contribution to the NATO Air Policing Mission. The Su-34s are called Fullbacks by NATO and were making their way towards the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, situated between Poland and Lithuania.
It was the second interception by Dutch F-16s since the detachment of five aircraft (4 operational, 1 reserve) became operational on Malbork on 3 September this year. The first time was on 12 November when a four-engine Ilyushin IL-76 penetrated the airspace north of Estonia and Lithuania.
NATO’s Baltic Air Policing currently consists not only of the Dutch Vipers, but of German Eurofighter EF2000s in Estonia plus Portuguese F-16s and Royal Canadian Air Force CF-188s in Lithuania as well. The Baltic republics don’t have an air defence force of themselves, but are part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
Source: Ministerie van Defensie