Article by Tom Brown for the Mail Online – 27.05.22
NATO scrambled F-35 fighters to intercept Russian aircraft on Thursday after the Norwegian Air Force identified two jets flying near the Finnish border.
Norway identified the Russian aircraft as one Mikoyan MiG-31 'Foxhound' and a Sukhoi Su-24 'Fencer' jet.
The Russian planes flew to the Norwegian Sea before returning east, said the air force.
The Sørreisa Control and Reporting Centre, in the north of Norway, reported on the jets.
The Norwegian F-35 fighter aircraft (left) is pictured next to the Russian Su-24 'Fencer' fighter (right). The Russian planes flew to the Norwegian Sea before returning east, said the air force
Norway identified Russia's aircraft as the Mikoyan MiG-31 'Foxhound' (top) pictured next to NATO's F-35 (bottom). The Sørreisa Control and Reporting Centre, in the north of Norway, reported on the jets.
'In 15 minutes they must be in the air and be ready at all times. It is 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,' Gaasland told Norway's TV 2 Nyhetene.
A total of 58 similar identifications were made based on 34 scramblers, or missions, in 2021, while the year before there were a few more, according to the Armed Forces.
The Russian jets were observed outside Finnmark, in the far north of the county, but were never in official Russian airspace.
Trespassing into Norwegian airspace would have provoked 'a more aggressive action', said Gaasland.
Asked if the activity was a threat to Norway, she replied: 'I do not want to say that, because we are used to it happening, and there is nothing illegal in it. We pay close attention to all activity in our local areas.'
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Stine Barclay Gaasland, communications manager in the Air Force, said the Norwegian Armed Forces has two F35 fighter jets that are always on standby, in what they call the Quick Reaction Alert for NATO.