Two Russian Tupolev Tu-160 (NATO Reporting Name: Blackjack) strategic bombers triggered a diplomatic raw last week, violating Colombian airspace two times on a mission flown from Caracas, Venezuela to Managua, Nicaragua. The two bombers entered Columbian airspace as they were flying over an Colombian island in the Caribbean sea, without propper request. The aircraft were detected about 11:00 am by the air surveillance radar of San Andrés. According to Colombian records, the two aircraft carried registration numbers XM94115 XM94104.
The Russian bombers were intercepted by two Colombian KFIR fighters approximately 80 miles of Barranquilla. The Colombian fighters were scramblled from this base where they were stationed on high readiness alert. Barranquilla, a civil airport also supports some of the Colombian Counter-Insurgency (COIN) operations with aircraft such as the T-37 and A-29B, operating on counter drug traficking. The Kfirs followed the Russian bombers for about five minutes, until the intruders left Colombian airspace. “Barranquilla Control reports to the Command and Control Center of the Air Force, the aircraft transferred from Curacao Control, had no diplomatic clearance for overflying respective Colombian airspace” the military announcement said. The Russian bommbers were not allowed to continue on their planned route and avoid the 12 nautical miles zone from the island. Finally, they crossed to the south of the archipelago and lost contact with them when they were on Honduran territory.
According to the Russian ministry statement, the bombers covered a distance of more than 10,000 kilometers (over 6,200 miles) during a 13-hour non-stop flight. On their way to Venezuela, on October 28, two NATO F-16 fighter jets were scrambled from Bodo air base in Norway to monitor their flight near the Norwegian airspace.