Norway's Armed Forces have released a video that shows one of their planes having to make an emergency manoeuvre to avoid colliding with a Russian jet fighter.
The footage which was released on Sunday, captures the Norwegian F16 on a NATO mission to intercept a Russian MiG-31 that has was spotted flying in international airspace just off the northern Norwegian coast.
The pilot is flying tracking the MiG, when he is forced to make a sudden movement to the left after the Russian aircraft cuts in front of the his flight path.
As the Russian MiG comes within 60 feet of his plane, the Norwegian pilot is heard shouting “What the hell?."
“We could have had a collision between the aircraft,” said Norwegian Armed Forces spokesperson Brynjar Stordal.
“The pilot has a spontaneous reaction in the video, and both his comment and the evasive manoeuvre indicate that this is unwanted. We don’t know if this was a mistake by the Russian pilot, or a sign of a more aggressive behaviour by the Russians.”
The Norwegian Armed Forces are yet to confirm when the incident happened.
The close call is yet another example of the increasing presence of Russian military aircraft in international airspace in recent times - particularly above Scandanavia.
According to statistics from the Norwegian Ministry of Defence, Norwegian F16s have had to scramble Russian jets 41 times last year and already 43 times this year – an increase on the 16 jets that were scrambled in 2005.
The Norwegian Defence Force has also said that the Russian planes being used are larger and that Russian pilots are flying more aggressively and in bigger formations
In October, Norwegian planes intercepted two Russian Su-34 jets just off the coast of northern Norway.
This was the first time that the Su-34 planes, more powerful than the standard MiGs, had been seen in the air above Norway.
Commenting on the latests incident in an email to the Wall Street Journal, Norwegian Minister of Defense Ine Eriksen Søreide, said: “I don’t think there’s a special need for worry, but we are of course monitoring the activity.”
Adding: “Russia, like everyone else, must abide with international aviation laws and regulations. It is unacceptable that Russian planes create dangerous situations in European airspace.”Reuse content