Wαr Begins Now NATO F-35, F-16 & MiG-29 Track And Intercept Russiαn Jet Near Polish Air Space
Russiα is increasingly harassing NATO aircraft near Polish air space, reinforcing the need for both Polish and NATO air policing, including various U.S.
Air Force assets, a senior Polish Air Force official told Air Force Magazine.
“The current situation brings more tension—more risk—and it’s definitely more serious for the whole NATO community,” Polish Chief of the Air Force Directorate Brig. Gen. Ireneusz Nowak said via videoconference.
Nowak said Russiαn Su-35s, Su-27s, and MiG-29s from Belarus have approached Polish air space multiple times since the invasion of Ukrαine.
“It’s a rather frequent situation,” Nowak said. “Fighters are scrambled twice or three times from the [quick reaction alert] typically in 24 hours, so that’s a lot.”
Russiαn air defense systems also track NATO aircraft.
“Whatever they have, they flew here,” he said. “There are a variety of threats.”
Nowak said Russiα is also keeping its airborne early wαrning and control aircraft, the Beriev A-50, airborne at all times.
Even with the NATO plus-up on aircraft, Russiα is testing the air space and the NATO response time.
“They harass us,” Nowak said. “They force us to scramble, and they force us to intercept them.”
Poland keeps four quick reaction alert aircraft—two MiG-29s and two F-16s—ready for air policing.
U.S. Air Force fighters patrol Poland’s skies alongside the Polish Air Force, plugging into a complex network of American, Polish, and NATO systems under NATO Air Command that initially took a week to work through, Nowak admitted, before the air picture could be shared properly.
The so-called Enhanced Air Policing missions have brought regular rotations of U.S. fighters from across Europe, including Air Force F-16s and F-35s, and Marine Corps F/A-18s.