“Reconnaissance flights intercepted. German and British Eurofighters were alerted to identify three military aircraft. The two SU-27 Flankers and a IL-20 from Russia were flying again without transponder signals in international airspace over the Baltic Sea,” said the air force on Twitter.
Russia’s military planes regularly approach NATO airspace over the Baltic States and usually fly without responder signals, which would allow other aircraft to automatically identify them.
These approaches generally force NATO fighter jets to intercept them.
Since the states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania don’t have fighter jets of their own, the airspace over the Baltic states is protected by other members of the Alliance.
In the beginning of April, after eight months, the Bundeswehr handed over this responsibility to Great Britain, but will continue to support the UK in the Baltic region with fighter jets and personnel until the end of the month.
According to statistics released by the NATO defensive alliance, the number of alert take-offs to intercept Russian planes almost doubled in 2022.
Last year, fighter jets were forced to conduct emergency interceptions at least 570 times. However, NATO said this was not due to increased activity by Russian jets but rather by the increased presence on it’s eastern borders due to the war in Ukraine.
On Tuesday, Norway said it had similarly identified a group of Russian military aircraft in international airspace over the Barents Sea to the north of the country.
The aircraft included two Tu-160 Blackjack bombers, two Il-78 Midas aerial refuelling tankers and three MiG-31 Foxhound fighter jets, the air force said on Facebook.