North-Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) air forces in Northern Europe scrambled its fighter jets thrice in two days to intercept Russian military planes, according to a statement issued by the alliance on its website. NATO said all intercepts were conducted in a professional manner, adding that its fighters across the alliance 'remain ready and poised to protect allied skies 24/7'.
"On 28 April, Polish fighters were scrambled under NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission from Estonia to identify two Russian Tu-160 long-range bombers, escorted by several fighters and supported by an Airborne Early Warning aircraft. The formation was later intercepted again by fighters of the Royal Danish Air Force. On the same day, a Russian Airborne Early Warning aircraft as well as two Russian Tu-22 long-range bombers with fighter escorts approached NATO airspace off the coast of Norway and were intercepted by Norwegian fighter jets." NATO's press office said.
"On 29 April Norwegian fighters were scrambled twice more against two Russian Maritime Patrol aircraft, approaching NATO airspace close to Norway. After the first intercept by Norwegian F-16 aircraft, the Royal Air Force launched their Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighter aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth to meet and escort the Russian planes as they tracked south towards the North Sea. They operated around the North Sea and turned north where Norwegian F-35 fighters met them and escorted them out of NATO’s area of interest," the statement added further.
NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 countries from North America and Europe. It implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed in 1949 after World War II to constitute a system of collective defence. The headquarters of NATO is in Brussels, Belgium and the current Secretary-General is Jens Stoltenberg. NATO's total expense in 2018 was estimated at $1 trillion.
(Image Credit: Royal Norwegian Air Force)