Norwegian F-16 in Near-Miss With Russian Fighter Jet

A Russian Air Force Su-34 Fullback strike aircraft, left, is escorted by a Norwegian Air Force jet in this Oct. 31, 2014, photo released by the Norwegian Air Force. Reuters

OSLO—The Norwegian Armed Forces released a video of a Russian fighter jet flying uncomfortably close to a Norwegian F-16, highlighting potential collision risks when intercepting Russian aircraft in international airspace on behalf of NATO.

The release of the video on Sunday follows a series of publications by Norwegian defense authorities regarding encounters with Russian aircraft this year, and it marks another sign of escalating concern among North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies over Moscow’s increased military activity.

NATO recently warned of potential risks to civil aviation when it reported a tripling of Russian aircraft interceptions this year compared with last year, with most of the increase in the Baltic region and elsewhere in Europe.

According to Norway’s armed forces, the video shows a Russian MiG-31 suddenly cut in front of one of two Norwegian aircraft sent up by NATO to intercept Russian aircraft in international airspace north off Norway. “What the hell,” says the Norwegian F-16 pilot in the video, as he dodges the MiG-31 passing him at a distance estimated to be closer than 20 meters (65 feet).

Norwegian Armed Forces spokesman Brynjar Stordal declined to say when the incident occurred, but said close calls such as this are rare.

“We could have had a collision between the aircraft,” he said. “The pilot has a spontaneous reaction in the video, and both his comment and the evasive maneuver indicate that this is unwanted … We don’t know if this was a mistake by the Russian pilot, or a sign of a more aggressive behavior by the Russians.”

Russian aircraft have been flying more frequently and farther south along the Norwegian coast in recent years, according to Norway’s Ministry of Defense. Norwegian F-16s were scrambled to intercept Russian aircraft 41 times last year and 43 times so far this year, compared with only 16 occasions in 2005.

“I don’t think there’s a special need for worry, but we are of course monitoring the activity,” Minister of Defense Ine Eriksen Søreide said in an emailed statement.

Ms. Søreide said it was legitimate for the Russian military to exercise, also in international airspace, but that “Russia, like everyone else, must abide with international aviation laws and regulations. It is unacceptable that Russian planes create dangerous situations in European airspace….”

On Sunday, Norwegian defense authorities also released a fresh video of a previously reported Oct. 31 encounter between Norwegian F-16s and Russia’s newest jet fighter, the Su-34, off the coast of Norway. The observation marked the first time the Su-34 was spotted flying in international airspace off Norway.

Authorities said the armed forces have picked up a new trend among Russian military pilots, alleging they are flying in larger formations and acting more aggressively than before.

h/t Marvin

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  • Drunk_by_Noon

    If only “Maverick” and “Goose” we’re there to protect Norway.

    • Raymond Hietapakka

      Ya…Hollywood glorified them, doing the same thing. Real heroes, smoking a couple of 3rd rate Libyan JV pilots over the Gulf of Sidra helped by GCI and stand-off missiles….however, winning is what its all about…

      • Clink9

        Smoke ’em if you got ’em.

  • northernont

    I suppose one could say that since the Russian jet was in International airspace the Norwegian jets had no business being there in the first place. And NATO jets and ships are now regularly cruising and patrolling the Black Sea, miles from Russian territory which they never dared to do when the Soviet Union existed, as this is the waters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. To the Russians, the Black Sea is considered territorial waters, inside their economic zone. As a response the Russians started sending aircraft to patrol the Gulf Of Mexico. Just who is provoking who here. I suppose since NATO has no more real mission or reason to exist since the fall of the Soviet Union, they are looking to remain relevant with new and improved boogeymen.

    • Raymond Hietapakka

      White people should learn to stick together.

  • Fran800

    We (the West) seem to be trying to start a war with Russia. Remember when that Canadian ship steamed halfway across the world to threaten the Russian fleet in Crimea, and, when a Russian plane buzzed this ship, the Canadians went ballistic screaming about “Russian aggression”?
    The root cause of this problem is the multi-year program by elements within the American state department to promote anti-Russian Westernization in Western Ukraine, culminating in the Euromaidan “peaceful spontaneous demonstrations.” We all saw these peaceful demonstrations on television. They were not peaceful. Ukrainian police were kidnapped, fire-bombed, government buildings were occupied (unarmed demonstrators can’t do that). These demonstrators were not trying to topple a vicious tyrant, a military junta, or a foreign occupier. They were toppling their own democratically elected government.
    Agents of the American State Department and the EU were present in the demonstrating mob. Victoria Nuland of the State Department was recorded planning the new post-coup government with a colleague on her cell phone.
    The population of the pre-coup Ukraine was 30% ethnic Russian (as many as 12 to 15 million people),, geographically concentrated in the East and the South. Ever since the coup, the government in Kiev has been engaging in ethnic cleansing of this population. One of their first acts was to ban the speaking of Russian, but they had to back down on that. They have effectively dis-enfranchised the Russian speaking East, and they have been occupied for months now bombing the eastern cities to smithereens. Hundreds of thousands of Russians from the eastern provinces have fled to Russian to asylum.
    In the meantime, the West demonized Putin (is he really worse than Stalin?), and tries to destroy the Russian economy with sanctions. David Cameron was quoted as saying the West would extend NATO to the Urals.
    By doing this, we are planting the seeds of distrust and hatred that can last for centuries. We are also making Russia vulnerable to incursions on the part of China, as well as empowering their internal enemies, namely Muslims.
    Remember that Putin warned the Americans about the Tcharnev brothers? Remember that he opposed the regime change against Assad, which most reasonable people now think was the best policy?
    We continue to tolerate the loathsome Erdogan, and demonize Putin.

    • Minicapt

      People who legitimise Putin are not fully ‘up on things’. Especially when they cannot avoid using talking points supplied by the FSB and its local ‘fellow travellers’.

      Cheers

      • Alain

        Really and your source of information and “facts” is what exactly. By the way it has nothing to do with Putin much less “legitimising” Putin. Unfortunately there are still some who chase the ghosts of the long dead Soviet Union and cannot move beyond that. Neither Putin nor Russia is perfect and without fault, but then neither are we. The two biggest threats are both totalitarian ideologies, one being Islam and other what I still call communism which is alive and well throughout the West, yet instead of trying to use Russia as an ally in this fight, we have those who want to revive the cold war while ignoring the real threat.

        • Minicapt

          It does look like you cannot be helped; thus the term “fellow travellers”.

          Cheers

  • Minicapt

    The RCAF should send a note to Charlotte Street, requesting their input to plans for a memorial service, to be held should we be forced to terminate a wayward Russian aviator.

    Cheers

    • b_marco

      A good start would be cancelling every Russian travel visa.