Russian fighter jets along with spy planes and military transport aircraft have sent NATO defenses into a frenzy this year, forcing jets to scramble about 400 times. This was disclosed by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in an address to a multi-national troop force in Estonia.
That means NATO planes scrambled every day so far this year. The recent confrontation between a Russian plane and NATO happened a day ago on Thursday when a Russian spy plane was spotted near the border of Latvia.
Two Canadian CF-18 Hornet jet fighters flew to the skies to chase away the Russian surveillance plane. It was the third showdown in the skies over the Baltic in the past three days.
Russian jets foray into and near NATO air space which could be “angerous” not because it will lead into military confrontations, but because the Russian jets mostly refuse to communicate or even turn on their transponders. The silence of Russian jets poses a significant threat of mid-air collisions with commercial airliners.
This March, a Russian spy aircraft with its transponder off nearly rammed into an SAS passenger jet with 136 passengers on board.
NATO Officials say that every time Russian fighter jets come close — presumably to test NATO air defenses — they are giving away as much vital secret information as they are gaining.
“Clearly, every time we come into contact with Russian forces and every time we see their tactics and how they deploy, we do learn about them,” said top NATO military commander Philip Breedlove, a U.S. Air Force General. “They are just happening more often and occasionally, the size of the activities is larger.”