Tag Archives: NATO

Russian aircraft occasionally intrude Israeli airspace, whereas Turkish jets regularly violate the Greek one.

Airspace violations are more frequent than one might believe.

On Nov. 24, a Russian Air Force Su-24M that allegedly violated the Turkish airspace was shot down by an AIM-120C air-to-air missile fired by a TuAF F-16 in Combat Air Patrol.

Although the details of the incident are quite controversial, with the Russians claiming that no violation occurred nor was the Fencer warned by the TuAF (that has since then suspended its flight over Syria) as Ankara has said since the beginning, it is safe to say that violations occur every now and then and rarely they end up with the downing of the intruder.

Indeed, violations of the Turkish airspace were reported few days after the Russian Air Force contingent deployed to Latakia, in northwestern Syria, started pounding FSA and IS targets across the country.

On Oct. 3 and 4, NATO said a Russian Air Force Su-30SM and Su-24 aircraft violated Ankara’s sovereign airspace in the Hatay region in spite of “clear, timely and repeated warnings.” In that case, the RuAF admitted the violations, claiming they were due to “navigation errors.” TuAF F-16s in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) were scrambled to identify the intruder, after which the Russian planes departed Turkish airspace. During the Oct. 3 incident, the Russian Su-30SM maintained a radar lock on one or both the F-16s for a full 5 minutes and 40 seconds: a quite unusual and provoking conduct by the Russian pilots.

Following the first incidents, Ankara said it would shot down any aircraft violating their sovereign airspace as done in the past with a Syrian Mig-23, a Mi-17 and an Iranian made Mohajer 4 UAV.

Whilst the alleged violation of the Turkey-Syria border by the Russian Su-24 is far from being unexpected considered the amount of intrusions reported since the beginning of October, far more surprising is the news that the Russians have also violated the Israeli airspace more than once in the past weeks.

“Russian pilots occasionally cross into Israeli airspace, but due to excellent defense coordination that began with Netanyahu’s meeting with Putin in which limits were set, the Israel Defense Forces and the Russian military agreed on security arrangements,” said General (res.) Amos Gilad, head of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s political-security division, as reported to Israeli media outlets.

The security protocol established between Israel and Russia should prevent incident like the one of Nov. 24 and the subsequent diplomatic crisis.

He added, “In the understandings with the Russians, we retain freedom of action in our attempts to prevent weapons getting through from Iran to Hezbollah.”

Violations regularly occur somewhere else.

The skies over the disputed islands of the Aegean Sea are often violated by the Turkish Air Force F-16s and F-4s.

Greece claims 10 miles of air space around a chain of Greek islands lined up along the Turkish west coast, part of those are in very close proximity to the mainland, while Turkey recognizes only six miles (that is to say the extent of the Greek territorial waters, recognized by each other).

Many of the incidents take place within the four-mile radius, which Athens considers its sovereign airspace and Ankara considers international one; however, according to several reports, there are a number of unauthorised Turkish military flights directly over Greek islands themselves.

An article published by Politico last summer reported figures from research at the University of Thessaly, according to which there were 2,244 incursions of Turkish fighter jets and helicopters in 2014 alone.

Although it’s unclear how many of those +2,000 occurred within the contentious 4NM airspace (nor do we know the figures of the Greek violations logged on average by the Turkish Air Force besides this data from 2012), it’s quite clear that a border incident similar to the Russian Su-24 shoot-down is always around the corner over the Aegean Sea. Like the one that led to dogfight and subsequent a mid-air collision in 2006 (causing the death of a Greek pilot).

Anyway, although they were pretty upset by the Russian violation on Nov. 24, the Turkish authorities should be quite used to such kind of incursions, from both the intruder and the intruded standpoint.

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Image credit: Russian MoD (Top), Politico (Bottom).

 

Here are the first pictures of the U.S. F-22s deploying to Poland for the very first time

Two Raptors have deployed to Lask, along with four F-16s and one C-130.

Two of the four F-22 Raptor jets belonging to 95th Fighter Squadron from Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, currently deployed to Spangdahlem airbase, in Germany, have landed at Łask airbase, in Poland, at 08.30 local time (06,30 UTC).

In this post you can find some shots taken by Filip Modrzejewski, chief editor of the Foto Poork portal.

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The forward presence of the Raptors in Poland is aimed at reassuring allies in Europe and bolstering regional security proving the 5th Gen. stealth jet’s ability to quickly deploy to the European theater: the F-22s returned to Spangdahlem to continue their deployment later on the same day.

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Along with the F-22s, four F-16s from the 480th Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, taking part in bilateral training with the Polish Air Force (during which they will be joined by additional F-16s from the 176th Fighter Squadron, Wisconsin Air National Guard, in early September) deployed to Lask.

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Photo Credit: Filip Modrzejewski – Foto Poork

 

This infographic gives some interesting details about the four NATO exercises taking place in Eastern Europe

A series of training events is taking place in eastern Europe.

NATO and regional Allies are involved in a series of training events in eastern Europe that go under the name of Allied Shield.

Allied Shield is a series of exercises that includes:

Exercise NOBLE JUMP, the first training deployment of Allied high-readiness units under the new Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) framework.

BALTOPS, a major Allied naval exercise in Poland that sees the involvement of the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command’s B-52 Stratofortress bombers deployed to RAF Fairford, in UK, as well as NATO AWACS, US F-16s used as OPFOR (opposing forces), P-3 and P-8 Maritime patrol aircraft, German Tornados, Swedish Gripen and US KC-135 tankers.

SABER STRIKE, a big land exercise with forces scattered across the Baltic States.

TRIDENT JOUST, a NRF (NATO Response Force) command and control exercise in Romania.

According to NATO, approximately 15,000 troops from 19 different allied countries and 3 partner nations are taking part (or about to) in this series of training events whose purposes are “defensive and are a part of NATO’s assurance measures in response to challenges on NATO’s southern and eastern periphery.”

In other words, these are just some of the measures NATO has taken in the region to reassure local allies threatened by Russia.

Click here to open a larger version of the infographic.

Image credit: de Volkskrant

 

The most interesting close encounters between NATO and Russian planes since 2013 in one infographic

Mapped, all the most interesting close encounters between NATO and Russian warplanes all around the world since 2013.

Last week, all those readers who completed a quick survey on The Aviationist were given the possibility to download an exclusive ebook: “Cold War 2.0: All the most significant close encounters between NATO and Russian warplanes since 2013”

The ebook is a collection of posts we have published on this site between 2013 and 2015, and helps you understand how routine interceptions have become recurrent, tenser and more dangerous; the proof that we live in a new Cold War, or a “Cold War 2.0”, as we dubbed it.

Based on our ebook, Willum Morsch, Graphics editor at The Volkskrant prepared an interesting infographic that maps all the events we have reported about in our 70-page report.

Click below for a larger version of the infographic; by the way, you can still download the ebook after taking the survey here.

Image credit: de Volkskrant/The Aviationist

 

Here are some cool images of Russian Su-34 attack planes intercepted by Spanish Typhoons over the Baltic

Some cool pics showing the “zombies” intercepted by the Spanish Eurofighter Typhoons have emerged.

Deployed at Ämari airbase, in Estonia, four Eurofighter Typhoons and 114 personnel of the Ejército del Aire (Spanish Air Force) have been supporting the NATO Baltic Air Policing (BAP) mission since Jan. 1, 2015.

Four C.16s (according to the SpAF designation) belonging to Ala 11, from Moron airbase, contribute to the air defense of the airspaces of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Just like the Italian Typhoons deployed at Siauliai, Lithuania, the Spanish C.16s of the “Detachment Amber” are frequently requested to scramble to identify and escort Russian warplanes flying over the Baltic Sea.

On the Spanish media outlet ABC.es, one of our readers, Antonio Valencia, has found some cool images that show the Spanish Air Force Typhoons escorting some Russian Air Force planes, including a couple of Su-34 Fullback bombers.

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Once again, such photographs confirm that the Baltic is the stage for some really interesting close encounters between Baltic Air Patrol QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) jets with “Ivan”.

Although no further detail about the images has been released, the fact that they depict two Su-34s at least one Su-27 and one An-26 may suggest the photographs were shot on Mar. 21, when two An-26s, two Su-27s, two Su-34s were identified according to the Latvia MoD:

However, needless to say, they may have been taken on different missions.

As leading service of the current BAP rotation, the Italian Air Force has recently claimed that its Typhoons have launched 27 times (currently 28) since the beginning of the year to intercept Russian aircraft flying in international airspace.

Although such “escorts” are no more than routine stuff most of the times, a few intercept missions have been a bit tense: in one case, a Tu-22 was unusually flying at supersonic speed towards Sweden; in another episode, a Mig-31 Foxhound almost collided (at least according to the Royal Norwegian Air Force report) with an F-16 involved in a Su-34 identification and escort mission.

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Image credit: SpAF via Foro de las FAS españolas