Russian Air Force Su-34 Fullback attack planes have become frequent visitors of the Baltic region.
On Dec. 8, two Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16s based at Malbork in Poland to provide NATO Baltic Air Policing duties in the Baltic States have intercepted and escorted two Russian Air Force Su-34 Fullback bombers flying in international airspace (with no FPL – Flight Plan).
The two Su-34s were flying southbound to Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave, located between Poland and Lithuania, home of some Russian military airfield.
According to the Dutch Ministry of Defense, it was the second interception by Dutch F-16s since the RNlAF planes were detached to Poland on Sept. 3: the first scramble took place on Nov. 12 when the QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) jets shadowed a four-engine Ilyushin transport aircraft flying north of Estonia and Lithuania.
Su-34s are becoming frequent visitors of the airspaces of northern Europe.
The first photos showing Russian Air Force Fullback warplanes in the Baltics were taken last month by RNoAF F-16s on QRA at Bodo airbase. More recently, the Royal Norwegian Air Force has released an HUD (Head Up Display) video that would show Russian aggressive flying by a Mig-31 escorting two Su-34s at the end of October off Finmark.
As already highlighted by NATO, Russian activities in the Baltics have surged in 2014: since the beginning of the year, NATO planes were scrambled to identify and escort Russian planes more than 100 times; three times as many as in 2013.
H/T to Giuliano Ranieri and Lasse Holmstrom for the heads-up