Tag Archives: AN-72

Round up: Russians intercepted in 2014

Amazingly close this Su-27 comes to the Swedish Air Force S 102B Korpen, imaged released by the Swedish Signal Intelligence Authority (Image © FRA)
In July, this Russian Air Force Su-27 came amazingly close to a Swedish Air Force S 102B Gulfstream IV.
(Image © FRA)

NATO on Wednesday 29 October 2014 sounded the alarm over Russian aircraft heading out in the skies over Europe far more often recently. So far in 2014, NATO fighter aircraft conducted over 100 intercepts of Russian aircraft, which is about three times more than were conducted in 2013. A round up of known intercepts is below.

Only last week, a Russian Il-20 spy plane was caught in international airspace after it took off in Kaliningrad and headed over the Baltic Sea towards Denmark. NATO F-16s soon caught up with it. On 21 September Danish F-16s along with fighter aircraft from Finland and Sweden (both non-members of NATO but participants in the Partnership for Peace program) chased two Tu-22M Backfires and two Su-27 Flankers, while on the same day German Typhoons played cat and mouse with two Flankers near the Baltics.

A Tupolev Tu-22M3 of the type that simulated attack on Sweden during Eastern 2013 (Image © Max)
A Tupolev Tu-22M Backfire medium range  bomber. (Image © Max)

Royal Air Force Typhoons took off from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland on 19 September, to intercept two Tu-95 Russian Bear H bombers in international airspace. Several days earlier, on Wednesday 17 September, Sweden picked up two Su-24 Fencers, which later were also shadowed by NATO aircraft.

On Thursday 28 August a Russian An-72 flew close to Helsinki, forcing the Finnish Air Force to send up F/A-18 Hornets. On 21 August, Danish, Dutch and UK fighters intercepted two Tu-95 Bears over the North Sea. The same thing happened in April.

In June, Royal Air Force Typhoons based in Lithuania met with four Russian Su-27s, two Tu22 Backfire bomber, one Beriev A50 Mainstay early-warning aircraft and an An-26 Curl transport aircraft.

The Beriev A-50U (No. 37), AWACS based on the Ilyushin IL-76 (Image © Russian Ministry of Defence)
The Beriev A-50U, AWACS based on the Ilyushin IL-76 (Image © Russian Ministry of Defence)

Body check
In July, A Russian Flanker ‘body checked’ a Swedish S-102B (Gulfstream IV) over the Baltic Sea. Another incident happened on 18 July 2014, when a US Air Force RC-135 spy plane was supposedly on the run for Russian aircraft over the Baltic Sea and trespassed Swedish airspace while doing so.

NATO Air Policing
As a reply to Russian interference in Ukraine, NATO fortified the Baltic Air Policing mission in the Baltic states and Poland earlier this year. Currently, Canadian F/A-18 Hornets, Portuguese F-16s, German Eurofighter Typhoons and Dutch F-16s are involved in this mission, flying from Ämari airbase in Estonia, Šiauliai airbase in Lithuania and Malbork in Poland. Meanwhile, Czech Air Force Saab Gripens are watching the skies over Iceland.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest

Like in the skies over the Baltic republics seen here over Šiauliai Airbase, the Canadian CF-188s will operate next to F-16s in Kuwait. In Lithuania it are Vipers from the Portuguese Air Force, in Kuwait it will be Fighting Falcons from the Royal Danish Air Force (Image © Cpl Gabrielle DesRochers / RCAF)
A Portuguese F-16 and a Canadian CF-18 Hornet break over Šiauliai Airbase.  (Image © Cpl Gabrielle DesRochers / RCAF)

Finland angry over Russian airspace violations

A Finnish Air Force F-18C is sometimes send up to meet Russian violators (Image © Dennis Spronk)
A Finnish Air Force F-18C is sometimes send up to meet Russian violators (Image © Dennis Spronk)

Finland is angry at Russia for the continuous violations of its airspace by Russian military airplanes. Russia has increased the frequency to such level that the incidents are systematic, the Finnish Minister of Defence Carl Haglund feels.

“The explanations we get are beginning to become too many and shows there is a degree of intentionality in the small violations when Russian planes illegally enter and turn into our airspace”, Mr. Haglund was quoted by the Finnish national broadcast company Yle.

The latest intrusion was on Thursday 28 August, with a Russian AN-72 entering Finnish airspace near Porvoo (aka Borgå), only 19 miles (30 km) east of the outskirts of the Finnish capital of Helsinki where one of the Finnish main oil harbours is. Hanko (Hangö) 68 miles (110 km) west of Helsinki is another popular spot where Russian transport planes show up.

The Fins sometimes sent up one or two of their 62 McDonnell Douglas F-18C/D fighter jets to intercept and identify the incoming planes. When NATO jets deployed for the Baltic Air Policing mission have scrambled from Ämari in Estonia or Šiauliai in Lithuania, are already shadowing the Russian aircraft, the Finnish Hornets usually stay on the ground.

Deal with NATO
Finland and Sweden signed or will sign a deal this week with NATO, to make it easier for aircraft and troops of the Western military alliance to be based or operate out of the two Scandinavian states. The agreement has clearly been made in light of Russia’s aggressive moves towards Ukraine and its display of military force close to the Nordic and Baltic borders since February this year.

Finland is the only non-NATO country with a fully NATO certified fighter unit.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger