Two Russian attack planes intentionally violated the Swedish airspace to probe local air defense

Two Russian Air Force Su-24 Fencer attack jets violated the Swedish airspace to probe the Swedish Air Force readiness.

On Sept. 17, two Russian Su-24 Fencer combat planes intentionally violated Sweden’s airspace the Expressen newspaper reported.

According to the Swedish media outlet the incursion saw the two aircraft skirt the Polish airspace before heading north, at low altitude, towards the island Öland, in the Baltic Sea. At around 12:00 PM LT, the Russian planes entered the airspace over the Swedish territorial waters south of Öland.

Swedish Defense officials confirmed some Jas-39 Gripen fighters were scrambled from Ronneby airbase, in southern Sweden, to intercept the Russian planes but they did not reach the intruders as the Su-24s, after flying a couple of kilometers on the wrong side of the border, turned again eastbound, most probably towards Kaliningrad.

Even though the Swedish Armed Forces have not officially commented the incident, sources who talked to the Expressen said authorities believe the violation was aimed at probing the Swedish air defense readiness.

Last year Russian Tu-22 bombers conducted some mock attacks on Sweden; more recently an airliner almost collided with a Russian spyplane off Sweden. The increased Russian activity in the area and the crisis with Moscow caused by the situation in Ukraine, pushed Stockholm to move some Gripen jets to Gotlad island, off the eastern coast of Sweden, in the Baltic Sea.

The Su-24 Fencer is a supersonic, all-weather attack aircraft developed in the Soviet Union and serving, among the others, with the Syrian, Iranian and Libyan Air Force.  It’s twin-engined two-seater plane with a variable geometry wing, designed to perform ultra low level strike missions.

H/T to Lasse Holmstrom for the heads-up

Image credit: File photo Swedish Air Force


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Shooting them down would not be the best response. Russia would yelp and stir up more of their already nasty nationalism. Plan and train well in advance, so what happens comes fast and smooth. Come up on their tail, threaten to shoot them down, and force the plane to land. Embarrass them.

    Then do what the Japanese did during the Cold War when a Russian fighter pilot defected. Keep the plane for months, tear in down so they (and any interested party) understand every bit of it, including more recent avionics, and then ship it back to Russia in little pieces.

    G. K. Chesterton taught that the proper response to those who want to instill fear (in his case, Prussia) is to mock and laugh at then. Laughter expels fear from our minds. Russia wants Swedes to be afraid. Make the Russians look silly. Tell tales about those drunken Russian pilots who don’t know east from west.

    –Michael W. Perry, editor of Chesterton on War and Peace

    • This Russian action is a reminder to Sweden of their stated neutrality since american spy plane, although denied by the air control, intruded Swedish air space couple months ago. So cool your head man, there is nothing laughable about those megatons, Russians are not some angry Arabs with RPGs.

  2. Sweden does loops to maintain it’s neutrality, but it seems the Russians are intent on pushing everyone towards NATO. If I were the Russians I’d be pushing all the bordering nations and former WP member’s airspace I wanted to violate EXCEPT Sweden. To show as an example of what happens if you stay out of NATO. The old USSR knew how to use sticks and carrots to drive wedges between NATO members, Putin seems to lack diplomatic graces. He must be Russia’s version of GW Bush.

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