U.S. F-15Es scrambled and intercepted Russian fighters operating near Allied air space over the Baltic Sea while Norwegian and British aircraft intercepted Russian aircraft in flying from the Barents into the North Sea on Thursday February 3, 2022.

Combined Air Operations Centre Uedem (CAOCUE) ordered a scramble from the enhanced Air Policing detachment at Amari Air Base, Estonia to respond and investigate unknown aircraft transiting through airspace near to the Baltic States. The US F-15 aircraft positively identified two Russian Su-35s and two MiG-31s, which had not filed flight plans and were not communicating with Air Traffic Control. During the intercept, it was confirmed that these fighters were escorting a Russian TU-154 transport aircraft. At no time did the Russian aircraft enter Allied airspace and all interactions were safe and professional.

“CAOC Uedem is responsible for maintaining a constant watch over Northern Europe and is vigilant 24/7 to safeguard Allied air space,” said Major General Harold VanPee, Commander of Combined Air Operations Centre Uedem.

In addition, the Royal Norwegian Air Force identified a package of Russian aircraft in the Barents Sea near Allied air space. The Norwegians intercepted a Russian refuelling plane together with bombers during the air-to-air refueling for the mission. Later, Royal Air Force Typhoons intercepted Russian Bear aircrafts from the same package, which were flying towards the British Isles. 

Air Policing scrambles respond to military and civilian aircraft that do not follow international flight regulations and approach Allies’ airspace. These responses seek to safeguard NATO airspace and to support the safety of all air users.

Since 2014, the NATO Alliance has implemented Assurance Measures with the goal to assure the Allies along the eastern flank. One tool in this set of measures is the concept of enhanced Air Policing, which demonstrates NATO’s solidarity, collective resolve, and its ability to adapt and scale its defensive missions and deterrence posture in response to an evolving security situation.