Here Are The Photos Of The First Italian Typhoons Alert Scramble In The Baltics This Year

The Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons intercepted a Russian An-26 transport aircraft over the Baltics. And here are some photos.

On Feb. 1, 2018, two Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon F-2000A jets executed their first Alert Scramble to respond to a Russian Federation Air Force aircraft that flew over the Baltic Sea with the transponder turned off.

The two aircraft were actually not launched but “diverted” from a training flight when the Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) at Uedem, Germany, detected an unidentified track crossing the Baltic airspace over international waters.

The two ItAF Typhoons, belonging to the Task Force Air 36° Stormo, identified the “zombie” as a Russian Federation Air Force An-26 transport aircraft. According to NATO, the two Italian aircraft flew alongside the transiting Russian plane and broadcast their transponder signal allowing civilian air traffic controllers to keep other air traffic clear of the area.

The Russian An-26 intercepted by the Italian F-2000As over the Baltics.

The Italian Air Force Typhoons have been deployed to Ämari Air Base, Estonia, augmenting NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission since early January 2018. Together with the Royal Danish Air Force lead detachment at Siaullai, Lithuania, their task is to provide 24/7 fighter capabilities that can be launched by the CAOC at Uedem, Germany, in response to unidentified air tracks in the Baltic Region.

The Italian detachment logged 100 flying hours during training flights over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania beneficial for both Italian pilots and Baltic military air traffic controllers to further improve skills and interoperability, on Jan. 25, 2018.

One of the two Typhoons shadows the intercepted Curl.

This is the second ItAF rotation in support of NATO BAP mission. From Jan. 1 to Aug. 27, 2015, as part of the TFA (Task Force Air) based at Šiauliai, Lithuania, four Typhoons of the 4°, 36° and 37° Stormo (the three Wings that fly the Euro-canard) logged about 900 flying hours, launching for 40 A-Scrambles (Alert Scrambles) and more than 160 T-Scrambles (Training Scrambles) during the first rotation as lead detachment of NATO BAP. Noteworthy, no photograph of intercepted Russian aircraft was released during and after the 2015 detachment, even though the Italians had some really interesting close encounters with some pretty interesting aircraft, including some Tu-160 Blackjack and Su-27 Flanker jets. However, unlike what happened three years ago, this time the Italian MoD has promptly shared some shots of the An-26 intercepted by the Typhoons, including those that you can find in this post.

Escort duty for this Italian Air Force Typhoon, at safe distance from the An-26 intercepted over the Baltics.

Image credit: Italy MoD




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. Wery interesting photos, thank you!
    Look at the angle of attack these Typhoons are flying on in order to match the speed of An-26!
    Compare these photos with recent footage of Russian Su-27 chasing EP-3 over Balck sea – Russian plane is much more stable on low speeds.
    I bet Typhoon will stall if An-26 slows a bit.

    • Compare the level of professionalism and thuggish behavior.

      Then, I’ll quote you:

      “And this is the highest level of professionalism – it takes enormous skill to stay in perfect formation with [a] plane as slow as [the] An-26.”

      • Don’t try to compare reconnaissance plane flying along the border with its electronic sniffing devises turned on and an old thrash hauler flying from one Russian airbase to another.
        Trying to show interception of this An-26 as an act of valor is just a hysteria.

        Pilot’s skills are undoubtful, btw.

        • BS! It’s a spy aircraft disguised as an innocent cargo hauler. Why did it have its transponder off, hmmm Ilya? What are those long, rectangular protrusions aft? Yeah – antenna!

        • Thanks for adding words into my mouth, but since we are here…

          That plane did something very unsafe, in turning off the transponder. Civilian traffic and all.

          Secondly, a bomber is much more dangerous than a recon plane. And on that, you can’t claim any high ground.

        • Transponder off = Measuring NATO’s intercept reaction time, boundaries, procedures in the very least. Give me a break will ya Ilya???

  2. Notice the safe distance and the lack of stunts endangering the other crew. That’s how grown-ups do their job.

  3. Turks everyday are violating greek airspace.In 2017 we had 1800 violations.No one bats an eye.When Russians fly in international space but close to other countries airspace everyone loses their minds.And we are talking about almost everyday dogfighting not just violations

  4. Well, nowhere else to put this so I might as well place it here. Like I said, and like some fanboys were quick to (foolishly) argue with me, the Textron Scorpion has been DROPPED from the light attack fly-off:

    Air Force Chooses AT-6, A-29 for Secondary Light Attack Experiment

    “The Air Force has selected two aircraft in its “light attack experiment” to undergo more demonstration fly-offs, among other exercises, at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona.

    The service intends to test the Textron Aviation AT-6 Wolverine and
    the Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29 Super Tucano from May to July 2018 at the
    base, it said in a release Friday.”

    Told ya the Scorpion didn’t stand a chance. Some of you tried to argue about that with me. Wrong move! Ol’ Leroy was right on the F-35, and he was right on the Textron Scorpion. Textron will never sell a single Scorpion airframe in my august opinion. So there!

    Oh, that Air Tractor? Same thing. Give me a break! Too ugly to fly for any AF. No combat pilot with an ounce of dignity would ever want to be seen flying that thing! Not unless he was crop-dusting, the mission for which it was made.

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