Royal Danish Air Force intercepts two Russian bombers headed to NATO airspace 

Russian Air Force Tu-95 Bear strategic bomber. Credit: vaalaa /

The Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) identified two Russian bombers flying towards the Netherlands airspace, the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) reported. 

As part of NATO agreements, two Danish F-16s were called into action on the morning of August 14, 2023, and the Russian Tupolev Tu-95 ‘Bear’ bombers were intercepted before they could enter Dutch airspace. The Russian aircraft were escorted away from the airspace.  

Following the incident, the Norwegian Armed Forces took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to specify that the two Russian bombers were “in international airspace over the North Sea” when they were intercepted. 

A spokesperson for the RNLAF told Reuters that aircraft are intercepted if they lack a unique identifying code, do not submit a flight plan, and do not engage in two-way communication. 

“This doesn’t happen very often, but today’s incident highlights the importance of quick deployment,” the RNLAF said in a statement. 

The deployment of the fighter jets was part of a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA), which is a state of military readiness where aircraft are kept on standby to rapidly respond to immediate aerial threats, enabling them to take off within minutes to intercept unidentified or potentially hostile aircraft. The QRA was announced at 7:19 am local time.  

NATO fighters are on standby 24 hours a day and can take off within minutes. The Netherlands and Belgium alternate with monitoring not only Dutch airspace but also the entire Benelux region.  

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