Earlier this week, Russian strategic bombers, fighters, and tanker aircraft were identified by the Norwegian Air Force in international airspace off the coast of Finnmark. The group is to have carried out a longer flight over the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea.
On Tuesday, two Norwegian F-35 fighter jets took off from Evenes Air Station and identified a group of Russian military aircraft in international airspace outside of Finnmark, reports the Norwegian Air Force.
The force consisted of two Tu-160 strategic bombers, three MiG-31 fighters, and two Ilyushin Il-78 tankers.
The strategic bombers are said to have carried out a 14-hour-long flight over neutral waters in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense. Accompanied by the tankers and fighters, they have practiced refueling during both day and night. This is reported by the Russian news agency TASS.
NATO, for its part, began a major anti-submarine warfare exercise in the High North on Monday (only in Norwegian).
The last flight with Tu-160 bombers over the same sea areas took place on the 14th of April. Aircraft under Russia's long-range flight command (which is part of the country's strategic nuclear forces) regularly conduct flights over the Arctic and the North Atlantic, states the Russian Ministry of Defense as well.
On April 13th, a Norwegian P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft was escorted by a Russian MiG-31 fighter jet in international airspace off the coast of North-West Russia, reported TASS. That week, the Northern Fleet conducted two exercises in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean.
Last month, the Norwegian Air Force reported two identifications of Russian military aircraft in international airspace off the coast of Norway: two Ilyushin II-38 tankers (March 9th), as well as a Su-24 bomber and reconnaissance aircraft and a MiG-31 fighter (March 14th). During this period, major Norwegian and British-led military exercise activity took place in Norway (only in Norwegian).
This article was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by Birgitte Annie Molid Martinussen.