NATO Air Command confirmed on Tuesday that two Dutch F-35 fighter jets carried out their first A-scramble to intercept Russian military aircraft flying close to Poland airspace.
“Supported by German inets they shadowed the Russian aircraft who were posing a danger to other air users by ignoring international air safety rules,” the command said in a Twitter post.
According to the Duch Ministry of Defense, the Russian aircraft were an II-20M (known to NATO as the Coot-A) spy plane and two Su-27s (Flakers) fighter jets.
The Dutch aircraft “escorted them at a distance” and, after some time, handed them over to another NATO country. According to the Ministry of Defense, the Dutch planes never flew over Russia.
🇳🇱F-35s carried out their first A-Scramble to intercept Russian SU-27s & a IL-20 flying close to #NATO airspace
Supported by 🇩🇪Eurofighters they shadowed the 🇷🇺 aircraft who were posing a danger to other air users by ignoring international air safety rules#SecuringTheSkies pic.twitter.com/6DbBCvLwPj
— NATO Air Command (@NATO_AIRCOM) February 14, 2023
Eight Dutch F-35 fighter jets have been stationed in Poland since this month. Four of them are deployed to monitor the airspace above the NATO country. According to the Ministry of Defense, the other four are for training purposes, though they can also be used if necessary.
According to the Dutch military, this was the first time Dutch aircraft carried out such an interception, called a Quick Reaction Alert, during this mission.