Fourth and fifth generation aircraft of the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) intercepted a large group of Russian aircraft on October 27. This was the first ever live intercept carried out by RNoAF F-35As in their own airspace.
Both RNoAF F-16A Block 20 MLUs and F-35As scrambled to the north coast of Norway to intercept two Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers, multiple Mikoyan MiG-31 Foxhound and Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer fighters, and a single Beriev A-50 Mainstray reconnaissance aircraft. A
Due to the Russian aircraft not filing flight plans or making any contact with civilian air traffic control, the RNoAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) F-16s at Bodø Main Air Station in Bodø, and QRA F-35As at Evenes Air Station in northern Norway all reacted to the Russian activity.
A Norweigian Lockheed P-3 Orion was already operating in the area on a training mission and helped identify the Russian A-50. The aircrews conducted a visual identification of the Russian aircraft in a safe manner and within the regulations of international law.
The two F-35s that scrambled from Evenes are currently undergoing a training exercise with an objective to prepare for the F-35A to take over the Norweigan QRA role from the F-16. The handover of the QRA responsibility is scheduled for January 2022.