NATO Air Command confirmed on Tuesday that two Dutch F-35 fighter jets had conducted their first A-Scramble to intercept Russian military aircraft flying close to Polish airspace.
“With the support of German websites, they tracked Russian aircraft that posed a danger to other air users by ignoring international air traffic safety rules,” the command said in a post on Twitter.
According to the Dutch Ministry of Defense, the Russian aircraft were an II-20M spy plane (known in NATO as Coot-A) and two Su-27 fighter jets (Flakers).
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A Dutch plane “escorted them at a distance” and after some time handed them over to another NATO country. According to the Ministry of Defense, Dutch planes have never flown over Russia.
🇳🇱F-35s performed their first A-Scramble to intercept Russian SU-27s and IL-20s flying close #ON THAT airspace
With the support of 🇩🇪Eurofighters, they tracked 🇷🇺 planes that posed a danger to other air users by ignoring international air traffic safety rules#SecuringTheSkies pic.twitter.com/6DbBCvLwPj
— NATO Air Command (@NATO_AIRCOM) February 14, 2023
Eight Dutch F-35 fighter jets have been stationed in Poland since this month. Four of them are deployed to monitor the airspace above NATO countries. According to the MOD, the other four are for training purposes, but they can also be used as needed.
According to the Dutch military, this was the first time a Dutch aircraft had carried out such an intercept, called a Quick Reaction Alert, during this mission.