BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:30 P.M.) – A number of European fighter jets took off from their respective countries on Wednesday to intercept two Russian bombers over the Baltic Sea.
“Two Tu-160 strategic bombers of Russia’s Aerospace Forces have performed their scheduled flight over neutral waters of the Baltic Sea. At some stages of the route the Russian planes were escorted by fighter jets F-18 of the Finnish Air Force, F-16 of the Danish Air Force, F-16 of Poland and Saab JAS 39 Gripen of Sweden’s Air Force,” the Russian Ministry of Defense said on Wednesday.
The ministry report said that the Russian planes regularly conduct flights over the Arctic, North Atlantic, the Black and Baltic Seas, and the Pacific Ocean.
All flights of Russian warplanes are “in full compliance with international rules of using the airspace,” they added.
According to the Tass News Agency, the Russian bombers flew for over eight hours before returning to its base.
Tu-160 strategic bomber (NATO reporting name Blackjack) is the world’s heaviest military aircraft.
Its takeoff weight is over 270 tonnes and its maximum speed is 2,200 km/h. The bomber can carry 12 long-range cruise missiles with nuclear warheads. The plane has the crew of four.