NATO fighters intercept Russian bombers over North Sea

Royal Norwegian Air Force

Norwegian F-35s and British Typhoons scrambled to intercept Russian bombers off the coast of Scotland. The mission marked the first sortie for Norway’s fifth generation fighters. 

On February 2, 2022, a flight group of Russian aircraft was detected by NATO air defense radars flying out of the Kola Peninsula. Consequently, the Norwegian Control and Response Center at Sørreisa ordered the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA). 

“The Russian aircraft were not transmitting a transponder code indicating their position and altitude, did not file a flight plan and did not communicate with air traffic controllers, posing a potential risk to other air users,” said NATO’s Allied Air Command in a statement. 

Royal Norwegian Air Force F-35s scrambled from Evenes Air Station in northern Norway near Harstad. They identified and shadowed a Russian A-50 Mainstay AWACS aircraft, before returning to base. 

As the flight group crossed the North Sea, Royal Air Force Typhoons took over the mission and scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth, located on the northern coast of Scotland. They were supported by a RAF Voyager tanker based out of RAF Brize Norton near Oxford, England.  

The British fighters identified two Tu-95 Bear H strategic bombers, and two Tu-142 Bear F maritime patrol aircraft. “The Russian aircraft did not enter Allied airspace and all interactions were safe and professional,” NATO commented. 

The mission marked the first Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) sortie for the Norwegian fifth-generation fighters. They took over from Norway’s F-16 fighters on January 6, 2022. Bodø Air Base, the F-16s homebase, was also shut down, replaced in its role by Evenes Air Station. 


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