Belgian F-16s intercept Russian jets over the North Sea

Two Belgian F-16 fighter jets were dispatched to the skies above the North Sea to intercept two Russian jets. The Russian Tupolevs were flying to the north of The Netherlands in the direction of the UK. The Belgian and the British air forces were alerted to the presence of two Russian Tupolev TU-160 jets. At the request of NATO a number of jets were scrambled to intercept the Russian planes.

As the planes were in an area of NATO airspace that is the responsibility of the Dutch and Belgium and The Netherlands pool resources two Belgian F-16 fighter jets were scrambled at the Florennes Air Base (Hainaut) at 11:21 am.

Due to the urgency of the situation, the F-16s were allowed to break the sound barrier above The Netherlands. It is reported that a sonic boom was audible in the North East of The Netherlands.

The Belgian pilots were able to visually identify the Russian planes at 11:51 am. The F-16s followed the Russian aircraft until two British Royal Air Force took over.