Video: Norway's new F-35 filmed from Russian anti-submarine plane
The video is posted by Russia’s Ministry of Defense and shows the Norwegian Air Force’s pair of F-16s and F-35s that last Saturday were scrambled to follow the Tu-142 and MiG-31 outside the coast of Norway. Also, British Typhoon fighter jets can been seen as the planes were in the skies over the North Sea.
As reported by the Barents Observer this weekend, this is the first time Norway’s new F-35 from Ørland air base were scrambled by NATO to meet Russian military aircraft approaching from the north.
The maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft from Russia’s Northern Fleet were flying much further south into the so-called GIUK gap (Greenland-Iceland-UK) than normal. GIUK is the area in the northern Atlantic that forms a naval choke point, important for the Russian navy in case of a conflict.
At least three such flights have been conducted by the Russian Tu-142 planes over the last two weeks. On February 26th and 27th, and now on March 7th.
The Russian Northern Fleet’s Tu-142 anti-submarine aircraft is a maritime patrol version of the Tu-95 strategic bombers. The main aim of the planes is to hunt NATO submarines and electronic intelligence.
Saturday’s flight with the Tu-142, that lasted for more than 13 hours, was followed by a MiG-31 for part of the distance.
- The MiG-31 and a Norwegian F-16 from Bodø air base can be seen at 0:56 into the film.
- The F-35s can be seen in two sequences, first at 0:38 and again at 1:32.
- The film also shows the Tu-142 preparing for mid-air refueling from a Il-76 tanker.
- At 0.43, a British Typhoon fighter jet flies beneath the Russian plane.
It is not known how many NATO submarines that currently are sailing the North-Atlantic, but navy ships from several NATO members are currently in Norway, bringing in supplies to the multinational exercise Cold Response.
The exercise takes place in northern Norway and will last until March 18th.
Norwegian Air Force is currently in a transition period and will maintain the F-16s on QRA for NATO at Bodø air base until 2022. Then, a few F-35s will be stand-by from Evenes air base in northern Norway, while the main bulk of the F-35s will operate from Ørland air base.
By 2025, all F-16s will be retired and the new fleet of 52 F-35s fully operative.
The Norwegian Air Force has so far received 15 new planes, of which four are currently based at Keflavik, conducting NATO’s Air Policing mission in Iceland.