Close “encounter” of military and passenger aircraft over Montenegro

Photo: Italian air force

One “eurofighter” (a hijacking aircraft of the Italian Air Force) received an order this days to intercept an unknown passenger plane that flew in the airspace above Montenegro. It was the first interruption since June 5 last year, when NATO announced that its warplanes had begun the so-called ” The air policy mission (patrolling in the airspace) above that former Yugoslavian state, which is now a member of the Western Military Alliance.

As told by NATO Federal Command in the base of “Ramstein”, the “eurofighter” flew from the Italian base “Goya del Cole” after receiving an order to fly from the NATO Combined Air Operations Center in Torehon, Spain . The pilot of the “eurofighter” was tasked to intercept a civilian passenger plane that had lost contact with air traffic control in the airspace above Croatia, after which he continued to fly south, towards Montenegro and Albania. In a statement by the NATO Allied Aviation Command, it is said that the “eurofighter ” successfully intercepted the plane a few minutes later and that his pilot conducted a visual check to exclude the possibility of a terrorist action or malfunction on a passenger plane.

“It was subsequently found that the interruption of communication followed a misunderstanding in contact between the pilot of a passenger plane and flight control. When that contact was restored, the passenger plane continued to fly to its final destination, the Hurghada resort in Egypt. We recall that the essence of the “air policy” mission is to patrol NATO aviation airplanes in the airspace of members of the military alliance and their response in cases when an unknown military plane is approaching, or a passenger plane whose pilot does not respond to flight control invitations to identifies. The second possibility was particularly significant after the terrorist attacks of passenger aircraft on the US Twin Towers building in New York in 2001. Their pilots did not respond to flight control invitations, and since then, in case a contact is lost again with a passenger plane, pilots of airplanes carrying out a “air policy” mission have to determine if this was due to a malfunction or because of a conscious intention.

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