F-35s scrambled as pair of anti-sub aircraft appeared north of Finnmark
The two Norwegian F-35s, on QRA for NATO in the north, were scrambled from Evenes airport on Thursday to meet the Russian aircraft that came from Severomorsk-1 air base on the Kola Peninsula.
QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) is when the Norwegians take to the air to identify and mark presence as foreign aircraft flying without ID-transponders are close to Norway’s airspace. Russian aircraft have never violated Norwegian airspace in post-Soviet period and Norway scrambling fighter jets to meet the Russians up north is considered to be standard procedure.
The two Russian planes came from Severomorsk-1 air base on the Kola Peninsula. The base is home to both the Il-38 aircraft and the larger Tu-142. When flying Barents Sea missions, the planes are on watch for possible NATO submarines.
There are currently two larger military exercises going on in Northern Norway; the Joint Viking and Joint Warrior. The latter is a British-led naval drill off the coast of Nordland and Troms and includes some 8,000 soldiers and 30 warships, 4 submarines and multiple aircraft ranging from maritime patrol to troop transporters.
Both British and US submarines have increased their patrols in northern waters in recent years as tensions with Russia are rising.