Russian Bomber Flies Dangerously Close To Icelandic Airliner

Two Tu-22's Photo: Finnish Air Force
Russian Tupolev Tu-22m nuclear bombers fly into Icelandic air traffic control area and dangerously close to a Stockholm bound civilian airliner.

Long-range Russian bombers flew directly below an Icelandic passenger jet en route from Keflavík to Stockholm on Thursday, mbl.is reports.

The bombers, observed by a civilian airline piot, was believed to be an Russian Tupolev Tu-22M. The aging bomber, first produced in 1969, is capable of carrying nuclear weapons and travels beyond the speed of sound. The incident occurred inside the Icelandic air traffic control area, near Norwegian air traffic control area. The bombers had shut off their transponder location equipment and did advise Icelandic air traffic control of their flight plans.

NATO tracked the bombers, which flew close to Spain before turning around and flying back to their base in northern Russia.

When the bombers were 55 miles away from the Icelandic passenger jet,  Reykjavík Air Traffic Control Center contacted the Icelandic pilots to report two unidentified aircraft. The bombers approached within 15 miles from the passenger airliner and just 6,000-8,000 feet below the Icelandic jet.

The Icelandic pilot was able to see the bombers, flying in formation, when he looked out the window. He described their flight as risky: “They chose to turn off their radar transponders which prevents our collision avoidance systems from functioning,” the pilot commented. “If they fail to keep distance, there is nothing on our side that would create an alert.”

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