11:41 GMT +312 November 2019
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    Danish F-16 in National Colours Scrambles to Shadow Russian Reconnaissance Plane – Photo

    CC BY-SA 2.0 / Dmitry Terekhov / Ilyushin IL-20
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    While the Russian aircraft did not violate Danish airspace, the Danish Air Force decided to scramble one of its F-16s and later published dramatic photographs of the encounter.

    A Danish F-16 fighter jet adorned with the "Dannebrog" the Danish white crossed flag, in honour of the flag's recent 800th anniversary was deployed to intercept a Russian reconnaissance plane near Danish airspace.

    The F-16 was dispatched as part of a routine mission, when a Russian IL-20M aircraft (NATO name: Coot-A), approached Danish airspace.

    The Danish Royal Air Force subsequently released a series of photographs from the encounter, something they don't often do.

    "The mission was a routine task for the airspace protection response unit, but we rarely get pictures that beautiful. So we decided you should have them too," the Air Force wrote on Facebook.

    While the Russian aircraft never entered Danish airspace, the Danish Royal Air Force has regularly deployed its F-16 fighter jets in recent years, in response to Russian aircraft approaching their airspace.

    According to the Royal Air Force, Danish F-16s responded 38 times to approaching Russian aircraft in 2018, which is comparable to the 37 instances in 2017, but less than the 59 in 2014.

    Denmark currently has 30 F-16s in service and 27 F-35 on order.

    According to Danish TV2, Danish F-16 adorned with the flag will not be deployed for overseas missions anymore, but will remain part of the airspace protection response unit until retired. However, the aircraft will take part in a show abroad dedicated to the 40th birthday of the F-16.

    Il-20, F-16, Russia, Denmark
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