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December 3, 2023
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Small Aircraft Intercepted by NATO Airfighters while Flying Low over Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria

A small twin-engine Beechcraft aircraft, carrying two people, flew low into the airspace of Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria on the evening of June 8, according to the Romanian Ministry of Defence.

According to the Romanian ministry press release, the aircraft in question, which entered the Romanian airspace on the Oradea – Caransebeș – Drobeta Turnu Severin route, did not show a hostile or dangerous behavior. At no time did the pilot of the aircraft respond to radio interrogations or visual signals from intercepting military aircraft, according to international standards.

According to the data available at the moment, the aircraft took off from Hungary, in the Debrecen area, around 5.30 pm, without having an approved flight plan and without having started the electronic means of identification of transponder type.

The aircraft was intercepted in Hungarian airspace by two military aircraft of the Hungarian Air Force, type JAS 39 Gripen, at 17.38. The aircraft did not respond to radio interrogations or visual signals from military aircraft.

At around 17.49, the aircraft entered the Romanian airspace, in the Oradea area, being accompanied by the two Hungarian military aircraft, based on the cross-border agreement between Romania and Hungary.

At 17.58 the Hungarian aircraft returned to the base, the target being taken over by two F-16 aircraft of the US Air Force, deployed on the 86th Fetești Air Base, which were on a patrol mission in the Romanian airspace.

The mission of the two American aircraft was similar, radio interrogation, visual identification and escorting of the target aircraft.

At 18.36, the American aircraft requested the return approval on the 86th Air Base, the air police mission being taken over by two F-16 aircraft of the Romanian Air Force, taking off from the same air base.

The Romanian military aircraft intercepted the target aircraft at 18.42 and continued the interrogation and escort mission. The target aircraft, which continued to respond to radio and visual cues, intersected at around 19.00 for about two minutes with Serbian airspace in an area between Drobeta Turnu Severin and Korbovo.

Around 19.09, the target aircraft crossed into the airspace of Bulgaria. The two Romanian F-16 aircraft completed the air police mission and landed in Fetești around 7.46 pm.

The Bulgarian authorities are currently investigating the area of ​​the last known target position on the ground to identify the aircraft and establish the details.

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