Thursday, September 16, 2021

Russia alarmed by large increase of NATO spy flights

On 8 September, Russian fighter jets again intercept NATO’s reconnaissance planes approaching the Russian border over the Barents Sea.

The Russian National Defense Control Center reported Tuesday that a Russian MiG-29 fighter jet of the Northern Fleet was scrambled to escort a Norwegian Orion patrol aircraft. Also, Su-27 fighters were scrambled to escort U.S. Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft and a Swedish Air Force Gulfstream reconnaissance aircraft.

According to the center, Russian airspace control systems detected an aerial targets over the neutral waters of the Barents Sea approaching Russia’s state border.


NATO’s surveillance missions next to Russian borders have soared by more than 30% compared to 2019, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told reporters on Saturday.

“The North Atlantic Alliance’s nations have recently intensified their intelligence activities. The intensity of use of NATO surveillance aircraft close to Russian borders has increased by more than 30% in comparison to last year. There were 87 flights last August and now there are about 120,” Shoigu said.

The minister said that on August 23 through September 2, the Russian Aerospace Forces scrambled their jets at least ten times to intercept spy planes over the Baltic, Barents and Black Seas.

On Saturday, the Northern Fleet’s MiG-31 fighters were scrambled to intercept the Orion maritime patrol aircraft of the Royal Norwegian Air Force for the third day in a row. On Friday, the Russian radars detected three B-52H strategic bombers of the US Air Force, which were approaching Russia’s sovereign airspace in the south. Four Su-27 and four Su-30 fighter jets were scrambled to intercept the bombers over the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

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About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
U.S. defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.