France scrambled its Mirage fighters to intercept a Russian warplane off the coast of Estonia on the evening of Feb. 27, after the German Air Force scrambled a Eurofighter Typhoon to intercept another Russian aircraft on Feb. 26, with both events ending with only visual contact, according to official reports on social media.

The French Armed Forces General Staff shared on the X network: “A takeoff following an alarm and the interception of a reconnaissance aircraft... Purpose: to protect the airspace of our Baltic allies.”

The aircraft detected near Estonia was identified as a Russian Il-20M reconnaissance aircraft (NATO designation: “Coot-A”).

The French General Staff released video footage showing a Mirage fighter on an alert mission tracking the Russian plane.

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Similarly, the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) reported a violation of a Russian warplane on Monday, Feb. 26, when at least one Eurofighter Typhoon was scrambled to intercept a Russian Il-20M military aircraft in the vicinity of Finland.

An alarm was sounded in Laage after the Russian Il-20M, without a flight plan, was detected southeast of Helsinki by the Typhoon. The German fighter conducted a visual check, and the intercept concluded “without further incident,” according to the Luftwaffe post on X. No further details were provided.

The French and German fighters were on alert duty for NATO when scrambled in Europe’s Baltic region.

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The Il-20M is a Soviet-era electronic (ELINT) and communications (COMINT) intelligence-gathering reconnaissance platform based on the Il-18 aircraft, equipped with a side-viewing radar station, an infrared scanner, and other sensors.

The primary surveillance system on this aircraft is the Igla side-view mapping radar, complemented by radio-frequency collection technology, radio transmission interception and photo reconnaissance equipment integrated with the aircraft’s navigation system.

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The Il-20M variant also features optical reconnaissance capabilities using specialized aerial visible-spectrum cameras.

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