On Tuesday, the fighter aircraft of the Hungarian Defence Forces protecting the Baltic airspace were again alerted. This time the alert was again due to Russian aircraft.
For four months from 1 August, the Hungarian Defence Forces, with almost 80 soldiers and four Gripen fighter jets, will be the lead nation – together with Germany, the Czech Republic and Italy, under NATO command – in air policing the Baltic countries.
On 18 August, the Hungarian Gripen aircraft defending the Baltic airspace received their first live alert of the year. Hungarian fighters were alerted to an unidentified aircraft in the early hours of the morning. In accordance with international procedures, the Gripen aircraft identified the Russian IL-76 aircraft flying south over the Baltic Sea and returned to Siauliai airbase in Lithuania.
The current alert was issued for two Sukhoi Su-35 heavy fighter-bombers escorting an AN-72 aircraft from St. Petersburg to Kaliningrad, the Hungarian Defence Forces said.
The two Sukhoi Su-35 were flying in international airspace, but they did not establish radio contact with air traffic control, did not have a flight plan and did not use a transponder. The Hungarian fighters successfully intercepted and identified the Russian aircraft causing the alert at 12:50 local time at an altitude of 9,000 metres over the Baltic Sea. The Gripen aircraft then returned to their base in Lithuania.
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