16:12 Sep. 26, 2016
The bombers had their transponders switched off and invaded Icelandic airspace without permission
Long-range Russian bombers flew directly below an Icelandic passenger jet en route from Keflavík to Stockholm on Thursday, Iceland Review reports referring to local website mbl.is. The bombers are believed to be Tupolev Tu-22M (‘Backfire' in NATO classification). They are capable of carrying nuclear weapons and can travel beyond the supersonic speed. The incident occurred inside Icelandic airspace, a short distance from Norwegian airspace. The bombers shut off their location equipment and did not report their bearings.
According to mbl.is, NATO monitored the bombers, which flew almost all the way to Spain, where they turned around and flew back to Russia.
When the bombers were 55 miles away from the Icelandic passenger jet, the Reykjavík Air Traffic Control Center contacted the Icelandic pilots to report two unidentified aircraft. Shortly thereafter, the bombers were only 15 miles away from the passenger jet and closing fast. They were flying 6,000-8,000 feet (1800-2400 meters) below the Icelandic jet.
The Icelandic pilot was able to see the bombers, flying in formation, when he looked out the window, the report says. He described their flight as risky.
"They chose to turn off all radar signals, which prevents our collision avoidance system from functioning," the pilot commented. "If they fail to keep the distance, there is nothing on our side that creates an alert."
As UT reported, on a previous week RAF jets intercept Russian heavy bombers near UK airspace. The pair of Russian Tu-160 supersonic strategic bombers appeared near UK without prior warning. Before that, on July 29, two Polish F16 fighter jets have intercepted a Russian light aircraft flying towards the city of Krakow.