NATO Scrambled Fighters 370 Times in 2021
Via NATO Air Command:
NATO fighter jets scrambled around 370 times across Europe in 2021, mostly to check aircraft flying unannounced near Allied air space.
Around 80 percent of the missions, 290 in total, were in response to flights by Russian military aircraft.
Russia Air Force Ilyushin Il-78 Midas, RF-94269, and a German Luftwaffe Eurofighter Typhoon over the Baltic. In related news, Germany declared the MBDA-made Meteor missile ready for use by the Luftwaffe in the summer of 2021
An Italian F-35 intercepts a really modded Russian Ilyushin Il-18, the rare EW/COMINT sniffing Ilyushin IL-22PP Porubschik (RF-90786), near Allied airspace in the Baltic Sea Region. The Italian Air Force was the first to deploy 5th Gen fighters in Baltic Air Policing. Photo courtesy of Italian Air Force.
Classic-on-classic! Early 1980s F-16A Fighting Falcon fighter jets of the Portuguese Air Force out of Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, intercepted Russian military aircraft, including a newly modernized Tupolev Tu-95MS Bear bomber, during an Air Policing mission over the Baltic, November 2021.
Last year’s figures are actually down from 2020, as noted by the alliance in December 2020:
NATO air forces across Europe scrambled more than 400 times in 2020 to intercept unknown aircraft approaching Alliance airspace. Almost 90 percent of these missions – around 350 – were in response to flights by Russian military aircraft.