Risks as Russian military planes fly under the radar near Sweden

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Pilots flying four JAS 39 Gripen jet fighters perform during the Day of the Airforce in Linkoping, Sweden on June 13, 2010. (AFP)
Pilots flying four JAS 39 Gripen jet fighters perform during the Day of the Airforce in Linkoping, Sweden on June 13, 2010. (AFP)
Safety for civil airplanes is being threatened, as more and more foreign military planes, often Russian, fly anonymously in the international air space over the Baltic Sea, reports Swedish Radio News.

Civil air traffic controllers cannot see planes flying with transponders off, because they do not show up on the radar.

“We in the civil airplanes cannot see those military planes,” Johan Glantz, security director for Swedish Airline Pilots Association told Swedish Radio news. He adds that the defense department is that which can detect military planes flying anonymously.

Glanz also said that this situation causes an increased safety risk to civil airlines.

“From a flight security perspective, it is not acceptable that planes come close to each other without some sort of warning,” said Mikael Karanikas, director of investigations at the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority.

He also thinks that military planes should alert civil airplanes when they are in their vicinity.

“From a flight security perspective it is obvious, the more information one has the better,” Karanikas said.

This spring there was an incident where two planes passed within around 90 meters of each other near Copenhagen’s airport, which could have ended badly.

“Had they not broken off their ascent, it would have been much closer than 90 meters, and that is a critical situation,” said Johan Glantz.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Feature Interview: Will Russia’s actions in Ukraine affect relations in the Arctic Council?, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Finland’s NATO membership no substitute for strong nation defence, Yle News

Norway:  Nordics rethink security after Ukraine crisis, Yle News

Russia: Russia puts countries on edge in the Arctic, Cryopolitics

Sweden: Sweden providing jets to NATO, Radio Sweden

United States: U.S. official criticises Russia for meddling in Finland’s NATO, Yle News

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