Belgian F-16 fighters intercepted two Russian Air Force Su-27 jets and a cargo aircraft over the Baltic Sea during an air-policing mission, NATO said on Wednesday.
On the afternoon of September 5, 2017, a NATO radar picked up two Russian Federation Air Force fighter jets leaving Kaliningrad airspace heading north in international airspace. The military aircraft did not communicate their identity and were not in contact with civilian Air Traffic Control agencies.
In line with standard procedures, the Belgian F-16s then took to the skies to identify the Russian Federation Air Force Su-27 jets, which subsequently joined up with a Russian Il-76 heavy cargo aircraft. All Russian aircraft returned to Kaliningrad and the Belgian F-16 jets safely landed at Ämari Air Base.
With the goal of safeguarding the airspace over the European Allies, NATO’s peacetime 24/7 Air Policing mission is overseen by Allied Air Command at Ramstein and its two Combined Air Operations Centres at Uedem, Germany, in the North and Torrejon, Spain, in the south.