Military planes that fly over Europe without identifying themselves pose a high risk to civilian planes, aviation safety officials said in a report on Tuesday, following a series of near-collisions involving aircraft from Russian war.
The European Commission has asked the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to investigate after recent reports of near-collisions between commercial airliners and Russian military jets flying without electronic identification.
Russian planes have stepped up their patrols over Europe and NATO has responded by sending more fighters into the Baltic skies amid heightened tensions triggered by the Ukraine crisis.
The EASA report, released by the committee, found that security incidents involving “uncooperative” civilian and military aircraft over the high seas, particularly over the Baltic Sea, had increased dramatically. in 2014.
Russia not mentioned
“The risk assessment (…) concludes that the risk to civil aviation is high and this means that mitigation measures to reduce the risk to an acceptable level must be taken,” said the report, which did not mention Russia by name.
EASA also cited a significant increase in “non-cooperative” military activities over the Baltic Sea in recent years.
âUncooperativeâ planes are planes that don’t file flight plans or talk to civilian air traffic controllers and turn off their transponders, or electronic identifiers.
Britain said on Tuesday it had dispatched Typhoon fighter jets to intercept two Russian long-range bombers near British airspace.
EASA said there were 13 incidents in the Baltic region in 2014, in which two planes flew close enough to compromise their safety and three airspace violations. These were five security incidents and one airspace violation in 2013.
Military jets that did not release or file flight plans were involved in most of the incidents over the past year, the report said, without naming the countries involved.
Secret flights elsewhere
In addition to incidents over the Baltic, several other EU member states have reported an increase in secret military flights over the Atlantic Ocean, Black Sea and Aegean Sea, according to the report.
EASA urged governments to harmonize and publish the operational requirements of their air forces to ensure that the military pays proper attention to civilian aircraft. He urged governments to harmonize civil-military coordination procedures for air traffic management at EU level.
Swedish authorities said last December that a Russian military plane nearly collided with a commercial passenger plane near southern Sweden, but Moscow insisted its plane had kept a distance of security. NATO accused Russia at the time of posing a danger to civil aviation in the Baltic region.
East-West tensions increased after a Malaysian airliner was shot down over eastern Ukraine last July. Western experts have said he was most likely shot down by a surface-to-air missile fired from territory held by pro-Russian separatists.