It is 0800hrs (local time) at Malbork Air Base in Poland on September 23. In the hangar that houses the Aeronautica Militare (AM; Italian Air Force) the contingent is at full capacity and the alert pilots are monitoring the radio communications.
The intelligence section – in constant contact with Command Air Operations Centre (CAOC) in Uedem, Germany, the command and control network combining radar and other facilities spread throughout the NATO’s air defence forces - informs of a possible ‘bogey’ (unidentified aircraft). Its close to NATO airspace and scales the readiness to 10 minutes in anticipation of a scramble call.
Soon the siren soun