Western alliance practiced reaction to interference of hostile fighters
This week, all eyes were on Russia's massive military exercise in Siberia, but NATO was also busy.
Tanguy Flamant, a pilot of the Royal Belgian Air Force, explains:
"We are flying in German airspace. We simulate the interception by two German fighters. That could happen in case of communication failure or something else, an emergency".
During the exercise NATO, scrambled several jets including Czech Gripen, French Mirage and Rafale, Spanish F18, and Slovak’s Soviet-designed MiG-29.
In a real situation, the fighters would try to keep suspicious planes away from NATO airspace.
In the past, it happened with Russian bombers and spy planes.
In 2014, NATO’s Eurofighters practiced similar interceptions with Russian planes.
This sort of military cooperation has since been suspended.
Lt. General Ruben C. Garcia Servert: "The mission you are seeing today is to confirm that the airspace of NATO, that means the airspace of member-nations, is safe and is controlled. Any third country that is not respecting the rules is a challenge for us.
So we are seeing recently frequent Russian activity, but not only. The idea is the beauty of the integration of the air defence of our nations under NATO umbrella."
General Servert is Commander of Combined Air operation Center at Torrejon, Spain, which controls southern Europe. Operator were monitoring our flight.
Said Euronews' Andrei Beketov: "Fighter from eight countries were escorting us, taking turns as we crossed borders. They were all armed. Although rules of engagement are different from ally to ally, NATO says the priority is saving lives and defending people."