Two unknown aircraft entered NATO airspace near Iceland yesterday morning, according to a press release from the Icelandic Coast Guard. The aircraft were later identified as Russian bomber planes, both Tupolev Tu-142 (Bear F) models. The two planes did not report to Icelandic air traffic control upon entering the area, nor did they have their radar active.
Two fighter aircraft of the Italian Air Force, stationed in Iceland for NATO exercises, flew to meet the planes. The Russian planes were located in NATO airspace but outside Icelandic airspace. Russian military aircraft last entered the region in December of last year, but are regularly observed near Norway.
Foreign Affairs Minister Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarsson stated that the Italian aircraft’s response was fully in line with NATO’s working regulations. Guðlaugur says the incident “is yet another example of the importance of airspace surveillance and air policing in Iceland.”