Two Russian bombers flew into the NATO airspace surveillance area near Iceland late on Wednesday night. According to a press release issued by the Icelandic Coast Guard, the two planes neither announced themselves to air traffic control nor had their radio transponders on. It is the second time this month Russian aircraft enter NATO airspace in the region.
In accordance with NATO regulations, two Italian fighter jets—both in Iceland as part of a four-week NATO deployment—were sent to identify the unknown aircrafts. The unknown aircrafts were identified as two Russian Tupolev Tu-142 (Bear F) bombers. Although the Russian planes were in NATO’s airspace surveillance area, they were not within Icelandic airspace.
Two Russian bombers of the same make flew unannounced into the NATO airspace surveillance area near Iceland earlier this month, at which time, the Icelandic Coast Guard took the same measures, sending the Italian fighter jets to identify them.
The Coast Guard indicated in Thursday’s announcement that NATO airspace policing near Iceland is still in effect. As of March 11, however, four Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon EF-2000 fighter jets also arrived in Iceland. Per an announcement on the Allied Air Command website, these jets are on a “four-week deployment to deliver NATO Airborne Surveillance and Intercept Capabilities to meet Iceland’s Peacetime Preparedness Needs.” The project is under the jurisdiction of NATO’s Combined Air Operations Center in Uedem, Germany, but is under the direction of the Icelandic Coast Guard in Iceland, in collaboration with Isavia.