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Belgian Air Force scrambles F-16s to intercept Russian Tu-160 bombers over North Sea

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World Aviation Defense & Security News - Belgium
 
 
Belgian Air Force scrambles F-16s to intercept Russian Tu-160 bombers over North Sea
 
Two Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers have been intercepted by a pair of Belgian Air Force's F-16 fighter jets after flying into Dutch airspace over the North Sea on Monday morning, January 15. The F-16s took off at 11:21 am (10:21 GMT) from Florennes AB upon request of the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) in Uedem, Germany.
     
Belgian Air Force scrambles f16s to intercept Russian Tu 160 bombers over North Sea 640 001A Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber similar to those intercepted today over the North Sea
(Credit: Tupolev)
     
"Today, 2 F16 successfully intercepted 2 Russian TU-160 Blackjack bombers above the North Sea, within the Dutch area of responsability of NATO airspace," the Belgian Air Force (Air Component) confirmed today on its Twitter account.

"At 11:51 am (10:51 GMT), the F-16 pilots made a visual identification. This occurred over the North Sea, in the north of the Netherlands, at an altitude of 27,000 feet (9,000 m)," the Belgian MoD stated.

The two F-16s escorted the Russian bombers across the North Sea where they were met by two Royal Air Force Typhoons dispatched from Lossiemouth airbase in Scotland. An RAF Voyager KC3 air-to-air refuelling jet was also sent from Brize Norton.

"The Russian aircraft were initially monitored by a variety of friendly nation fighters and subsequently intercepted by the RAF in the North Sea," an RAF spokesman said.


The QRA mission was called off at around 11.45am GMT after the Russian jets continued north-east towards the Norwegian Sea.

Two BAF F-16s are ready to take off 24/7 within minutes in the event of an alert. A procedure called "Quick Reaction Alert" (QRA) activated by the Belgian Defense Control and Reporting Center (CRC) based in Glons for the Belgo-Luxembourg area and by the Air Control Station in Nieuw-Milligen for the Dutch area.