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Norwegian F-16s in the air for 10 hours to track Tu-95s

October 14, 2007 (by Lieven Dewitte) - A total of 8 RNoAF F-16s were scrambled to track 13-14 Russian Tupolev-95 "Bears" for about 10 hours. The first F-16s on QRA took off at 03.00h.

RNoAF F-16A block 5 #278 flying aside a Russian Tu-22M3 'Backfire-B' bomber in the mid eighties.

This sudden activity of Russian bombers made Norway send more F-16 to Bodo AB so they could scramble as many aircraft at the same time.

Norway's military has felt it necessary to dispatch fighter jets 29 times so far this year, to monitor Russian military flights offshore. Now it appears that at least one of the Russian aircraft was equipped with a cruise missile.

Newspaper Aftenposten carried a photo of the Russian Tupolev 22 bomber on its front page on Thursday. The photo was taken by a Norwegian fighter jet crew sent out to monitor the flights of two such aircraft about seven weeks ago

In September, Norway scrambled its F-16 jets to keep an eye on another flight of 8 Russian Tu-95s. In mid-August, they took off to monitor a flight of 11 Russian bombers off western Norway in the biggest show of Russian air power over the Norwegian Sea since the early 1990s.

The Tu-95 is still in service, as of 2007, and expected to remain so with the Russian Air Force until at least 2040. It is the most successful and longest-serving Tupolev strategic bomber and missile carrier built by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The Tu-95 is powered by four Kuznetsov turboprop engines, each driving contra-rotating propellers, and remains the fastest propeller-driven aircraft to go into operational use. Its wings are swept back at 35 degrees, a very sharp angle by the standards of propeller-driven aircraft.

Additional images:

Very old picture of RNoAF F-16A block 10 #291 from 331 skv intercepting two Il-38 May. The picture was taken from the Russian Il-38. [Photo by Espenjoh]
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