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Jul 22 2021

Turkish fighters deployed to Poland make their first intercept

RAMSTEIN, Germany – Two Turkish F-16s flying from Malbork, Poland under NATO's Air Policing mission made their first intercept of an unknown aircraft on 20 July, 21. Allied fighters scramble 24/7 to identify aircraft without a flight plan or without a flight transponder to safeguard Allied airspace. 

In the morning of 20 July, the Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem, Germany, recorded an unidentified track in the Baltic Sea flying from Kaliningrad to mainland Russia and ordered an alert scramble for the Turkish F-16s mission to identify that track. After take-off, the Turkish F-16s, flying under NATO control approached and identified a Russian Il-20 (COOT ALPHA).

Having Turkish and Polish staffs working together to put fighter jets in the air is developing vital relationships for the future. And at the same time, assure the Allied populations of NATO's commitment to this enduring defensive mission
"The deployment of Turkish F-16s to Malbork Air Base, Poland epitomises NATO cohesion and solidarity across Europe," said Brigadier General Ertunç Ertufanli, Deputy Chief of Staff Plans. 

"Having Turkish and Polish staffs working together to put fighter jets in the air is developing vital relationships for the future. And at the same time, assure the Allied populations of NATO's commitment to this enduring defensive mission," Brigadier General Ertunç Ertufanli added.

The Russian Il-20 intelligence gathering aircraft flew over international waters close to Lithuania; it was not on a flight plan and not sending a transponder signal causing a potential risk to other airspace users. Upon completing the identification, the Turkish fighter aircraft returned to Malbork Air Base.

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Two Turkish F-16s flying from Malbork, Poland under NATO's Air Policing mission made their first intercept of an unknown aircraft on 20 July, 21. The aircraft was identified as a Russian Il-20 (COOT ALPHA), which is a reconnaissance plane. Photo courtesy of Turkish Air Force. 
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Two Turkish F-16s flying from Malbork, Poland under NATO's Air Policing mission made their first intercept of an unknown aircraft on 20 July, 21. The Turkish F-16s, flying under NATO control approached and identified a Russian Il-20 (COOT ALPHA). Photo courtesy of Turkish Air Force
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A Russian Il-20 (COOT ALPHA) flies through international waters off the coast of Lithuania. The aircraft was not responding to transponder signals and did not follow a flight plan causing a potential risk to other airspace users. Photo courtesy of Turkish Air Force. 

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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