Two Gripens were scrambled from Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania, a pair of Su-35S Flanker-E fighters operated by the Russian Aerospace Forces, which were escorting a single Antonov An-72 Coaler transport aircraft from St Petersburg to Kaliningrad.
Despite flying in international airspace, the Russian aircraft caused an Alpha scramble due to not having their transponders switched on, did not initiate radio contact with air traffic control and did not file any flight plans.
Flying just below 30,000ft over the Baltic Sea, the three Russian aircraft were identified at roughly 13:00 local time and intercepted successfully by the Gripens. After intercepting the adversary aircraft, the Gripens returned to Šiauliai.
Hungary took over the Air Policing role at Šiauliai in late July this year after taking over from Spain as the lead nation. The Czech Republic with five Gripens remained in Lithuania alongside the Hungarian Air Force to augment the safety of allied airspace by flying patrol missions around the NATO Eastern Flank for an extra month and are believed to have returned back to the Czech Republic on September 1.
Hungary currently has five Gripens and over 80 service members from the 59th Szentgyörgyi Dezső Air Base in Kecskemét, Hungary. The five Gripens will carry this responsibility until November to ensure the allied air space above is secure.