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Russian A-50 Mainstay intercepted by NATO BAP patrol
The Belgian Air Force on 27 April reported that it had intercepted a Russian A-50 (NATO: Mainstay) AWACS aircraft (pictured) over the coast of Estonia after it failed to comply with international flight regulations.
In a tweet, the air force confirmed that it had scrambled F-16A/B fighter aircraft to intercept and escort the Russian aircraft as part of the Baltic Air Policing (BAP) mission.
Russia operates 20 A-50s which have been produced by Beriev Aircraft since 1980. It has a maximum range of 5,000km and a MTOW of 170t. The only other know operator of the A-50 is India, which has received 3 aircraft.
Belgium currently leads NATO’s BAP mission but is soon due to hand over its leadership role to the Spanish Air Force.
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