For The Second Time In Three Days Russian MiG-31 Intercepts U.S. B-1 Bombers Over Barents Sea

MiG-31 taking off (Image credit: Russian MOD)

U.S. B-1B Lancer activity in the Barents Sea is keeping the Russian MiG-31 fighters busy.

On Mar. 26, 2024, a flight of two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers was intercepted by a Russian MiG-31 Foxhound over the Barents Sea. According to the Russian MOD, the MiG was scrambled to identify the BONEs (from B-Ones) as the formation was flying over the Barents Sea “approaching the borders of the Russian Federation”.

“To identify an air target and prevent violation of the State Border of the Russian Federation, a MiG-31 fighter from the air defense forces on duty was scrambled”, the Russian MOD said. “The Russian fighter crew identified the aerial target as a pair of U.S. Air Force B-1B strategic bombers. As the Russian fighter approached, the American strategic bombers adjusted their flight course, moving away and then turning around from the State Border of the Russian Federation. The Russian plane returned safely to its home airfield; there was no violation of the State Border of the Russian Federation.”

The intercept was carried out in strict accordance with international rules for the use of airspace over neutral waters and in compliance with safety measures, the Russians say.

This was the second time in just three days that the presence of B-1 bombers in the Arctic region forced the Russians to scramble a MiG-31: on Mar. 24, 2024, during their deployment flight from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, to Morón Air Base, Spain, two B-1s assigned to the 7th Bomb Wing, flew over Norway and then in international airspace over the Barents Sea, allegedly in direction of Russia’s Kola Peninsula, and were intercepted by a Russian MiG-31 Foxhound scrambled to intercept the Lancers.

The two BONEs deployed to Spain to begin the next phase of Bomber Task Force 24-2. The first phase started on Feb. 23, when two B-1B Lancers assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing, from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, arrived in Luleå-Kallax Air Base, Sweden. On Feb. 29, the two bombers conducted a cross-combatant command mission from their deployed location at Luleå-Kallax Air Base, Sweden, in support of Global Guardian: the aircraft departed from Sweden, crossed into the U.S. Northern Command area of responsibility and completed their deployment by returning to Ellsworth AFB, where the B-1Bs are permanently stationed.

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, takes off at Luleå-Kallax Air Base, Sweden, Feb. 26, 2024, during Bomber Task Force 24-2. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jake Jacobsen)
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.