27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

This week interception of Russian warplanes by NATO Typhoon fighters reminds me of the time in which the world was on the brink of total nuclear annihilation, when Soviet forces taunted the Americans to test their defenses. This image collection shows that part of a Cold War that seems reactivated right now.

January 1963: F-4 Phantom II fighters escort a Soviet bomber as it passes over the carrier Kitty Hawk (CVA 63).

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: U.S. Navy


A U.S. Navy Vought F-8E Crusader of Fighter Squadron VF-51 "Screaming Eagles" escorting two Soviet Tupolev Tu-16 (NATO reporting code "Badger") bombers on 5 July 1963.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: VFP-63, Det Bravo/U.S. Navy


A Convair F-102A intercepting a Soviet "Bear" long-range bomber off the coast of Iceland in July 1970.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: U.S. Air Force


1971: A U.S. Navy McDonnell F-4B-27-MC Phantom of Fighter Squadron VF-161 "Chargers" intercepting a Soviet Tupolev Tu-95MR over the Sea of Japan.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: C. Tordesillas/U.S. Navy


A U.S. Navy McDonnell F-4B Phantom II from Fighter Squadron VF-151 "Vigilantes" intercepting a Soviet Tu-95 Bear D aircraft in the early 1970s.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: Lt. Morris/U.S. Navy


A U.S. Navy Vought F-8J Crusader of fighter squadron VF-194 Red Lightnings intercepts a Soviet Tupolev Tu-95 Bear-A/B reconnaissance aircraft near the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany (CVA-34) (steaming below) on 25 May 1974.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: Lt. Fessenden/U.S. Navy


A U.S. Navy McDonnell F-4N Phantom II from Fighter Squadron VF-51 Screaming Eagles intercepts a Soviet-built Libyan Tupolev Tu-22 "Blinder" over the Mediterranean Sea, in April 1977.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: U.S. Navy


A U.S. Navy Grumman F-14A Tomcat from Fighter Squadron VF-14 Top Hatters intercepts a Soviet Tupolev Tu-95RTs over the Mediterranean Sea on 15 February 1977.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: U.S. Navy


A Marine Corps AV-8A Harrier and two U.S. Navy McDonnell F-4N Phantom II fighters intercept a Soviet Tupolev Tu-95 in 1977.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: U.S. Navy


An A-7E Corsair II of Attack Squadron (VA) 27 intercepts a Soviet Il-38 patrol aircraft that was flying in the vicinity of the carrier Coral Sea (CV 43) steaming in the North Arabian Sea, circa 1979.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: U.S. Navy


A U.S. Navy Grumman F-14A-100-GR Tomcat aircraft from Fighter Squadron 51 (VF-51) intercepts a Soviet Tu-95 Bear-A/B aircraft on 15 October 1979.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: U.S. Navy


An F-106 Convair aircraft belonging to the 102nd Fighter Interceptor Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, intercepting a Soviet Tu-95 Bear bomber aircraft off the coast of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in 1982.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: U.S. Air Force/DoD

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: U.S. Air Force/DoD


1982: An F-106A Delta Dart aircraft intercepting a Soviet Tu-95D Bear aircraft off Cape Cod. The Delta Dart is from the Massachusetts Air National Guard.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: DOD


A U.S. Air Force F-4D Phantom aircraft assigned to the 119th Fighter Wing “Happy Hooligans”, North Dakota Air National Guard, intercepts a Soviet TU-95 Bear bomber aircraft over the Arctic Ocean, during a flight to Keflavik, Iceland in 1983.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: U.S. Air Force


A Tu-95 Bear D aircraft being intercepted by an U.S. Navy Grumman F-14A Tomcat from fighter squadron VF-11 Red Rippers, on 1 October 1985.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: U.S. Navy


Air-to-air left side view of an F-14 Tomcat aircraft intercepting a Soviet Tu-95 Bear-G strategic bomber aircraft in 1985.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: U.S. Air Force/DoD


An U.S. Air Force McDonnell Douglas F-15C Eagle from the 57th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, based at Keflavik Air Base, Iceland, intercepts a Soviet Tupolev Tu-95 Bear D aircraft in 1987.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: U.S. Air Force/DoD


A Soviet TU-95 Bear-H aircraft being escorted by a U.S. Navy F-14A Tomcat aircraft, and a U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle aircraft after it was intercepted approximately 350 nautical miles southwest of Adak, Alaska on 29 May 1987.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: U.S. Navy


Two Soviet MiG-29 aircraft en route to an air show in British Columbia, Canada, are intercepted by F-15 Eagle aircraft of the 21st Tactical Fighter Wing. The Soviet MiG-29s are, for the first time, traveling to the Abbotsford International Airshow in Abbotsford, BC, Canada, to participate in the August 1989 airshow.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: Staff Sgt. Kevin L. Bishop/U.S. Air Force


May 1996: An F-14 Tomcat escorts a russian spy plane as it passes over the carrier Constellation (CV 64).

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: U.S. Navy


A 90th Fighter Squadron F-22A Raptor escorts a Russian TU-95 Bear flying near the Alaskan NORAD Region airspace Nov. 22, 2007.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: U.S. Air Force


An F/A-18 Hornet aircraft from Carrier Air Wing One One embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) escorts a Russian Tu-95 Bear long rang bomber aircraft south of Japan Feb. 9, 2008. The bomber neared the vicinity of the carrier resulting in the fighter intercept. Nimitz was transiting through the Western Pacific on a regularly scheduled deployment when the incident occurred.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: DoD/ U.S. Navy

Bonus: RAF interceptions


A Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Typhoon F2 from Number XI Squadron at RAF Coningsby is escorting a Russian Bear-H aircraft over the North Atlantic Ocean in August 2008.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: UK Ministry of Defence


On 10th March 2010, two RAF Tornado F3 fighter aircraft of 111 (Fighter) Squadron were scrambled from RAF Leuchars (Fife) in the early hours of the morning to intercept two Russian TU-160 Blackjack aircraft in UK airspace off the North-West coast of Scotland. RAF Leuchars fighters have successfully scrambled to intercept Russian aircraft on more than 20 occasions in 2009-2010.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: UK Ministry of Defence


17 June, 2014: Royal Air Force Typhoons were scrambled to intercept multiple Russian aircraft in international airspace near to the Baltic States. The Russian aircraft were monitored by the RAF Typhoons and escorted on their way.

27 high tension photos of NATO jets intercepting Russian warplanes

Photo: UK Ministry of Defence


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