In April 2016 an American ship, the USS Cook, was flown over in a similar fashion. However, then the jets were not armed.
The incident happened at around 9am on Thursday. The jets flew over the Godetia three times. The Godetia is part of a 6 ship NATO mine sweeping fleet in the Baltic Sea. The ship is used as the fleet’s command ship.
The Belgian frigate captain Peter Ramboer gave the other ships in the fleet that are under his command the order not to act as any action could lead to a serious escalation.
Captain Ramboer told VRT News’ Jan Balliauw “I wouldn’t want to be the person that had caused a third world war because on an error of judgement”. Captain Ramboer was speaking during a visit to his ship by the new Belgian Defence Minister Sander Loones (Flemish nationalist).
Photographs released by the Belgian Navy confirm that the fighter jets had “dirty wings”, a term to describe military aircraft that are armed. The missiles can be seen next to the plane’s fuel tanks.
The missiles are believed to be Kh-25s. This is an air to ground missile with a range of between 10km and 40km. Depending on the version deployed, the missiles can also be used to attack ships.