Two Belgian F-16s were deployed this morning over the North Sea because two military planes from Russia approached Dutch airspace.
The Russian Tu-142 “Bear” aircraft did not adhere to the identification procedures, according to the military. The Belgian news agency Belga reports that the aircraft flew without a transponder.
The Belgian F-16s flew from Florennes airbase in a straight line over Schiphol and Texel to a position above the North Sea, Belgian Defence reports. They waited there for the Russian aircraft but ultimately did not have to take action because the Russian planes remained out of the Dutch airspace.
The Royal Air Force also sent fighter jets into the air because of the Russian aircraft. Two RAF KC2 Voyager were scrambled from RAF Brize Norton airbase. Two RAF Typhoons were also scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth airbase.
The Belgium Air Force confirmed that the QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) today was two Tupolev Tu-142s named “Bear” 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.
— RAF Lossiemouth (@RAFLossiemouth) March 29, 2021