Several European air forces scramble for two Russian Air Force Tu-160 “Blackjack” aircraft

20141003 – PEER, BELGIUM: Illustration picture shows an F16 fighter jet after the return of the Belgian army F16 fighter jets who participated in Operation Guardian Falcon (OFG) in Afghanistan, Friday 03 October 2014, at the military airbase in Kleine Brogel, Peer. BELGA PHOTO YORICK JANSENS

Around 1300 (UTC +1), two Russian Tu-160 “Blackjack” aircraft did not adhere to the identification procedures, according to the military. A Norwegian QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) was deployed to guide the two Russian aircraft. 

Shortly thereafter, Belgian F-16s were deployed over the North Sea because the two Russian aircraft approached Dutch airspace. Soon thereafter, a scramble of the Royal Air Force took over the task of the Belgian F16s.

The Belgium Air Force confirmed that the QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) today was two Tupolev Tu-160s named “Blackjack” in NATO language.


Belgium and the Netherlands alternate in defending the airspace over the Benelux. Two armed fighter planes are available 24 hours a day and are in the air within minutes.

It happens regularly that unknown aircraft are detected above Benelux airspace with which no radio contact can be established. This is not always intentional; sometimes the pilot is on the wrong frequency.

Dutch and Belgian aircraft come into action on average a small number of times a year to accompany Russian aircraft.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.