What if a Russian military aircraft invades EU territory?

We asked military and civil aviation experts questions. They explained to us the steps that could lead us to the destruction of the engagement system.

Tensions are rising over Russia, which announced its deterrence warning on Sunday. But what if a militant military plane invades European airspace? Since 1961, NATO has installed Sky Police to cover Europe from east to west. It has offices in the Baltic States, Poland, the Adriatic Sea, Iceland and the Benelux.

In France, the possibility of air raids has also been considered since the 1960s. The Air Force and Space Force have permanence that can be operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This sky police, consisting of fighters and helicopters, was strengthened after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

“Eight armed fighters, Rafale or Mirage 2000, are distributed at four bases, Mondo Marsan, Orange, Sandigier and Evreux,” the Air Force Space Force told the BFM business. “If an aircraft, military or civilian aircraft enters the airspace without permission, we can intervene within 10 minutes.”

1. Visual and audio contacts

Upon receiving the alert, the Air Force will take off to intercept the engaging aircraft. In other words, make them understand that they have to go back to their original place. To this end, pilots follow international procedures. It begins with visual contact (appearance, hand gestures) and then with audio at a dedicated radio frequency.

“All private pilots know they can handle the loss of these codes or if the communication system goes down,” Gérard Feldzer, a former pilot and chairman of the Aviationsans Frontières Association, told BFM Business.

2. Deterrence measures

If the device persists, the aviation police pilot will perform an aviation deterrence gesture.

“It’s a matter of demonstrating our ability to react with our determination. Pilots first move their wings and then roll to reveal the weapons installed under the device,” the Air Force and Space Army said. I will explain.

3. Warning shot before the device is destroyed

If the enemy plane ignores these warnings, the pilot will practice decoy or other warning shots. And finally, if it continues, it may be ordered to destroy it.

“This order can only come from the Prime Minister in charge of internal security, but this case is very unlikely,” the Air Force and Space Force specify.

“And before arriving in France, the plane will have to cross the airspace of other European countries that have an air force similar to ours,” the military continues. “NATO pilots take turns escorting pilots from our limits.”

If this situation is “never happened”, the French airspace violation warning will be issued “on a regular basis” on military transport aircraft.

“They test us, but they are intercepted long before they arrive in the airspace monitored by NATO. We make them understand that they shouldn’t enter and everything works. Will lead you to. “

However, it may be the devices of NATO countries that are “intercepted” by Russia. Last December, Moscow took off three Su-27 fighters, two French fighters (Mirage 2000 and Rafale), a French Air Force KC-135 tanker, two American reconnaissance planes, and CL-600 Artemis. And ordered RC. -135. After a brief visual contact, five planes turned around and Sukhoi returned to the base.

Pascal Samama