Turkish F-16s scrambled from Malbork intercept "unknown aircraft"
Turkish F-16 jet fighters scrambled from Malbork Air Base "made their first intercept of an unknown aircraft today" - NATO Air Command said on Tuesday.
"Turkish F-16s flying from Malbork, Poland under NATO's Air Policing mission made their first intercept of an unknown aircraft today," NATO Air Command informed on Twitter on Wednesday.
"Allied fighters scramble 24/7 to identify aircraft without a flight plan or without a flight transponder to safeguard Allied airspace," NATO added.
NATO Air Command also posted photos of the intercepted Ilyushin Il-38. One photo shows that the aircraft has red stars on its wings - the standard marking of Russian planes.
Turkish jets in Malbork
Four Turkish Air Force F-16 jet fighters arrived in Malbork Air Base on July 6. An 80-strong Turkish Air Force detachment will operate the jets until mid-September, supporting the NATO Air Policing mission in the region.
This is the second time when the Turkish Air Force dispatches their planes to aid the NATO Air Policing, but first time in Malbork.
Currently, there are three detachments policing the airspace in the region under the NATO mission. Apart from the Turkish one, there is also a Spanish detachment in Šiauliai, Lithuania and an Italian in Ämari, Estonia.
"Providing equal protection to all its member countries is an important measure to demonstrate Alliance solidarity, resolve and collective defence not only to current members, but also to our partner nations and future potential members," reads a statement on NATO website.
The Alliance also stressed that F-16 assigned to Malbork Air Base demonstrate the bloc's readiness and ability to react.
NATO Air Policing mission is mainly meant to protect the airspace in the Baltic countries.
"A high proportion of Russian Federation Air Force flight activity is due to the geographical situation of the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad; Russian Federation Air Force aircraft regularly fly from mainland Russia to Kaliningrad and vice versa. They often approach or fly near NATO airspace without using transponders, communicating with Air Traffic Control or having filed a flight plan," NATO Air Command said.
Russian planes intercepted over the Baltic
Lithuania's Defence Ministry said on Monday that jet fighters carrying out the NATO Air Policing mission in the Baltic states intervened six times to identify and escort Russian military planes.
On July 14, NATO intercepted an aircraft flying to Kaliningrad without having filed flight plan prior. The next day, another plane going in the same direction, but without using transponders, was intercepted
On July 17, two aircrafts were spotted, going to and from Kaliningrad, flying with switched-off transponders, with no flight plan submitted prior. Contact with the pilots was established via the radio.
Źródło: TVN24 News in English, TVN24, PAP
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: TWITTER/NATO_AIRCOM