Two NATO Italian Air Force Typhoons were scrambled yesterday to intercept a Russian Il-38 over the Baltic Sea. The Il-38 was flying with his transponder off.
“The aircraft was flying according to a pre-filled flight plan but with its transponder switched off,” she said.
Italy and Poland are flying sorties for the NATO’s Baltic air policing mission. Based in Šiauliai, Lithuania, the Italian jets were scrambled to intercept a Russian aircraft only once during the week. Last week, two sorties were flown and over 150 interceptions were carried out over the Baltic Sea in 2014.
The Baltic air-policing mission is a NATO air defence Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) to guard the airspace over the three Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Spanish jets are currently stationed in Estonia while Belgian jets are in Poland.
The Italian Typhoons intercepted more than 27 Russian aircrafts since January 1. Italy and Poland will be replaced in May.
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