On Wednesday 2 March, 2 Dutch F-16s intercepted 2 Russian T-95 Bear bombers. The Russians had penetrated Dutch airspace without making their identities known.
The air combat control division of the Nieuw Milligen Air Operations Control Station directed the F-16s of Leeuwarden Air Base towards the Bears for visual identification and to escort them through the Dutch area of responsibility. The F-16s intercepted the Russians at the edge of the airspace that the Netherlands is responsible for within NATO.
The fighter jets then tailed the Bears until the latter flew out of the Dutch area of responsibility into British airspace. The Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) of the Royal Air Force took over from there. Prior to their interception by the RNLAF, the Russians had been monitored by Danish fighters.
Quick Reaction Alert
For the defence of the airspace over the Netherlands, F-16s are on standby for the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) task 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week. These F-16s are capable of intercepting an unidentified aircraft in Dutch airspace within a few minutes after it has been detected.
Orders for intercepting an aircraft are issued by NATO and sent to the Nieuw Milligen Air Operations Control Station. This military air traffic control and air combat control centre alerts the F-16s on permanent standby and "talks" them to their objective.
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