NATO jets in Baltics scrambled twice last week over Russian military aircraft
NATO fighter-jets patrolling Baltic airspace were scrambled twice last week to identify and escort Russian military aircraft in international airspace over the Baltic Sea, the Lithuanian Defence Ministry said on Monday.
The Alliance's jets on Feb. 8 intercepted an An-26 transport plane flying from the Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad to mainland Russia according to a pre-filed flight plan. The aircraft maintained radio communication with the regional air traffic control center, but its onboard transponder was switched off.
The jets on the same day escorted a group of five aircraft, including a Tu-134 passenger plane and four fighter-jets. The Russian aircraft, which were on their way from Kaliningrad to mainland Russia, had no flight plan and only the Tu-134 had its onboard transponder on and maintained radio communication with the air traffic controllers.
NATO's Baltic air-policing mission is conducted from Lithuania and Estonia.