Flight fright: Russian MiG-31 jet pulls midair maneuver on Norwegian F-16 (VIDEO)
Two top guns came into very close contact when a Russian MiG-31 aircraft overtook a Norwegian F-16 fighter and cut practically in front of it, forcing the NATO pilot to veer away sharply.
The Russian jet passed the F-16 within a mere 20 meters, causing the Norwegian pilot to exclaim, “What the hell!” before darting away hastily.
The incident took place north of Norway over international waters, and the date is unknown.
“We don't know if it was a miscalculation or if he deliberately put himself in the path of our F-16,” Norwegian Armed Forces spokesman Brynjar Stordal told AFP, adding that the “Russian pilot's behavior was not quite normal.”
Norway’s Air Force had to scramble Russian military planes 43 times this year and 42 times in 2013. The number has been consistent over the last five years.
When NATO fighter jets intercept Russian bombers and other warplanes, or vice versa, pilots are usually polite and keep their distance. The previous incident with hazardous proximity took place back in 2012, when a Russian MiG-31 fighter jet intercepted and approached “uncomfortably close” to a Norwegian Orion reconnaissance aircraft over the Barents Sea.
The Mikoyan MiG-31 (NATO code name Foxhound) is a Soviet-design supersonic interceptor, the world’s fastest aircraft in service today.
After the US Air Force decommissioned Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft, which achieved a speed of slightly more than Mach 3.2 (3,540kph), the MiG-31 with its 3,000kph remains the world’s fastest manned aircraft in service.
MiG-31 production was suspended in 1994 and a program is underway to modernize all of those operated by the Russian Air Force.
Norway possesses 72 F-16 Fighting Falcon multirole fighter jets, at least two of which are reportedly ready for take-off to intercept airborne targets at all times. All Norwegian F-16s were produced between 1980 and 1984.