After they were detected and tracked by NATO air defense radars, two Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-142 Bear-F strategic surveillance aircraft flying south from the Barents Sea with their transponders off were consecutively intercepted by the Quick Reaction Alert aircraft of the Norwegian, British, Belgian, and French air forces.
As they took off above the Barents Sea, the two maritime patrol planes were escorted by a patrol of Su-33 fighter jets. They then flew south, off the coast of Norway, where two Norwegian F-16s were sent to accompany them. Soon enough, they approached Scotland, alerting the Quick Reaction Alert personnel of the Royal Air Force. Eurofighter Typhoon fighters were scrambled for the interception, assisted by an A330 MRTT Voyager tanker.
When the two aircraft started to get too close to the Dutch coast, the Benelux air defense system decided to launch the chase. Two F-16MLU Fighting Falcon fighters of the Belgian Air Force took off from the Florennes airbase and headed for the Friesland. Meanwhile, the French Air Force monitored the path of the spy planes, using an Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft.
“The flight of the Northern Fleet’s maritime aircraft was performed in strict compliance with international rules of using the airspace,” the Russian Northern Fleet press service said. The whole flight lasted 11 hours.