On Friday, two Russian TU-160 bombers flew through Dutch airspace over the North Sea. In response, two Belgian F-16s intercepted and escorted them, the Dutch Royal Air Force announced on Twitter.
In recent years Russian bombers have been flying through Dutch airspace more and more often, according to reports in local media.
“After a short interception of the two Russian Blackjacks in Dutch airspace, our Belgian F-16s were relieved over the canal by the UK QRA (Quick Reaction Alert),” the Belgian Air Force stated on Twitter once the mission was over.
Na een korte interceptie van de 2 ??Blackjacks in ?? luchtruim werden onze ?? F-16’s boven het kanaal afgelost door de ?? QRA.
Onze vliegtuigen zijn ondertussen op terugweg. Uw veiligheid, onze opdracht! #WeAreNATO #StrongerTogether
— Belgian Air Force?? (@BeAirForce) November 12, 2021
“Our aircraft are on their way back. Your safety, our mission,” the BFA added. The Russian aircraft came from the north and were previously accompanied by Norwegian fighter planes.
Since 2017, Belgium and the Netherlands alternately guard the airspace of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The fighter planes protect the Benelux countries against civil and military aircraft that pose a threat.
The countries alternate every few weeks and make sure that there are always two F-16s ready for the task. Currently, the Belgian Air Force is responsible for the surveillance.