From Deutsche Welle: Defense analysts have been recording a steady increase in airspace violations by Russian military aircraft over the past five years after such incidents dropped off considerably at the end of the Cold War. The RAF admitted afterwards that air crews had been successfully scrambled to intercept Russian aircraft on more than 20 occasions since the start of 2009.
Analysts say that the incursions – increases in which have been recorded over Scandinavia, Northern Britain and in most European countries along the Russian border – have become more aggressive and brazen in recent months and represent a definite change in Russian military behaviour patterns, a sign that the Kremlin is embracing a growing tendency to flex its military muscles in the post-Cold War era.
It is believed that these incursions are part of a new strategy intended to test Western response times to increasingly aggressive incursions. Each time intercept aircraft are scrambled, the Russia pilots obtain valuable information on reaction times which are then complied for analysis by military planners and warplane designers. The concern is that, should Russia ever want to invade airspace for hostile reasons, its pilots will know exactly how European air forces operate. (photo: AP)