Hypersonic Patrol? Russia Scrambles MiG-31 Fighter To Intercept P-8A Poseidon Over The Barents Sea

Russia scrambled a MiG-31 fighter to intercept and prevent the Norwegian Air Force P-8A Poseidon aircraft from approaching the Russian Federation’s state border over the Barents Sea.

The Russian Ministry of Defense reported that on October 26, 2023, Russian airspace control over the Barents Sea detected an aircraft nearing the state border of the Russian Federation. 

To ascertain this approaching aircraft’s identity and prevent any potential breach of the Russian state border, a MiG-31 fighter from the on-duty air defense forces was promptly scrambled.

The Russian fighter crew confirmed the incoming aircraft’s identity as a Norwegian Air Force P-8A Poseidon, which was conducting a base patrol operation, the Ministry added. 

The Russian military department further stated that as the MiG-31 fighter approached, the foreign aircraft altered its course away from the border. Subsequently, the MiG-31 safely returned to its home airfield, ensuring no breach of the Russian Federation’s state border. 

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P-8A Poseidon

Amidst the escalating tensions between Russia and the West, such incidents are becoming increasingly common and are receiving extensive coverage in Russian media.

Just a few days ago, on October 24, a Russian Su-27 fighter was dispatched to intercept and avert the breach of the Russian state border by two B-1B bombers from the US Air Force over the Baltic Sea. 

At the time, the Russian Ministry of Defense noted that the fighter executed its mission in strict adherence to international regulations governing the use of airspace over neutral waters.

Before that, on October 9, Russian fighters successfully thwarted an attempt to breach the Russian state border by aircraft from the British Air Force over the Black Sea. The British military aircraft in question included RC-135s and two Typhoons. 

On the other hand, NATO has also reported increased airspace violations and instances where aircraft are deployed to intercept Russian military aircraft. 

NATO has consistently raised concerns about Russian military aircraft frequently operating without transmitting a transponder code that indicates their position and altitude, neglecting to file a flight plan, or failing to maintain communication with air traffic controllers. These actions present a potential hazard to civilian airliners.

In response, NATO fighter planes are scrambled to intercept the Russian aircraft, establishing visual contact and providing an escort as necessary to ensure safe and controlled operations.

Russian MiG-31 Armed With Hypersonic Missile 

In compliance with directives from the Russian President, MiG-31 fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles are reportedly ready for aerial patrols over the Black Sea. 

Russian experts view this action as a potential deterrent to adversaries and emphasize that this decision responds to the situation in the special operation zone to safeguard Donbas. 

On the other hand, Ukraine perceives the presence of Russian MiG-31K fighter jets patrolling the Black Sea airspace as a potential factor for heightened tension. However, Kyiv asserts that these patrols do not significantly alter the overall situation for the Ukrainian Defense Forces.

Yuriy Ihnat, spokesperson for Ukraine’s Air Force, said, “This latest claim from the aggressor [Russia] does not change anything for Ukraine; Russia already threatens our country with various weapons daily. And this statement by the crazy dictator would be better commented on by his press secretary.” 

Technically, the specifications of the Kh-47 Kinzhal aeroballistic missile allow for potential launches into Ukrainian territory from both the northern and eastern fronts, with the Black Sea serving as an additional possible direction, Ihnat added.

russian Kh-47M2 "Kinzhal" hypersonic missile / Archive photo
Russian Kh-47M2 “Kinzhal” hypersonic missile / File photo

Additionally, Russian aircraft, particularly fighter jets and reconnaissance planes conduct routine patrols of the airspace in this area daily.

Ihnat pointed out that Putin’s recent statements might be directed more toward NATO member countries that could be targeted by these missiles, characterizing it as the latest instance of fear-mongering by Putin. 

“A Kh-47 missile can carry a tactical nuclear warhead as well, like the Kalibr cruise missiles deployed on Russian warships in the Black and Azov Seas,” the spokesperson noted. 

Furthermore, it is expected that NATO countries will likely dispatch their fighter jets to intercept Russian MiG fighters within the neutral airspace over the Black Sea.