Norway’s F-35s were scrambled for first time, intercepted Russian anti-sub aircraft
Photo: A Tu-142 and a MiG-31, were photographed outside Norwegian air space on Saturday, March 7th. Photo: Norwegian Air Force
Two Russian Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) aircraft and a MiG-31 Foxbat were intercepted by F-35s and F-16s of the Norwegian military on Saturday, serving as both a historical landmark for the F-35 and as a reminder of just how brazen the Russian military is becoming.
The F-35s were launched from Orland air base in southern Norway and joined the hunt initiated by two F-16s from Bodo Air Station, located north of the Arctic Circle.
During the scramble and intercept, a pair of ubiquitous Russian Tu-142 “Bears” were spotted operating near Norwegian airspace, shadowed by a MiG-31 Foxbat interceptor.
The MiG-31 is capable of going over three times the speed of sound (though the engine runs a risk of being damaged at such speeds) and is one of the fastest combat jets in the world.
The aircraft, no matter how fast, is no match for the F-35, which likely had the Foxbat on radar before the Foxbat knew it was being tracked by the Lightning II.
“The Armed Forces yesterday established reinforced extra F-35 preparedness from Orland air station to enhance sovereignty,” said Chief of the Norwegian Air Force, Major General Tonje Skinnarland.
According to The Barents Observer, British Typhoon fighters soon took over the intercept once the Russians moved further south. The MiG-31 eventually broke contact and headed back to base, leaving the Bears unattended.
All in all, the Russian Tu-142s were airborne for a total of 13 hours, and were supported by tanker planes.
The Norwegian Air Force is currently using a two-tier setup of F-35s and F-16s, but will phase out all of the F-16s by 2025.
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