The Belgian air force planes took to the skies from the base at Florennes (Namur) in order to investigate two Russian Tupolev Tu-142s flying north of the Dutch coast and the Dutch Friesian islands of Terschelling and Ameland.
The two bombers were flying without a transponder, an electronic device that provides a response when it receives a radio frequency interrogation, and were approaching Dutch airspace. Later the Tupolevs set course for the United Kingdom allowing the Belgian F-16s to return to base around noon.
The Royal Air Force too was scrambled to investigate the Russian aircraft.
This is only the second time that Belgian F-16s need to be readied to intercept Russian bombers. The first incident occurred in January 2018.