Two Russian Blackjack bombers were intercepted by fighter jets from four European countries as they flew from the direction of Norway to northern Spain and back, it has emerged.
Norway, the UK, France and Spain all scrambled jets as the TU-160 planes skirted the airspace of each country….
The incident happened on 22 September but the full extent only came to light recently in a statement by the French ministry of defence (in French). It referred to it as an Air Policing [Baltic support] mission by the four countries involved.
It said Norway first detected the two Blackjack bombers to the north and scrambled two F-16 fighters to accompany them towards the north of Scotland.
The British RAF then sent Typhoon aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth to intercept the planes as they flew to the west of Shetland.
The RAF said at the time that at no point did the Russian jets enter UK air space….
The Russian planes then skirted the west of Ireland and were picked up by two French Rafale fighter planes 100km off the coast of Brittany, the French ministry of defence said. Two other Rafale jets later took over to shadow the bombers as they flew south.
Finally, Spain sent two F-18 fighters to intercept the Russian planes north of Bilbao. The bombers then turned around and made a return journey. It is not believed that any further interceptions took place.
Iceland later complained to Russia that TU-160 Blackjack bombers had flown too close to civil airliners on the same day.