on 31st March 2022
Image : Forsvarsmakten
Swedish media report that two Russian aircraft that violated Sweden’s airspace in early March 2022 were carrying nuclear weapons.
On March 2, 2022, four Russian combat aircraft, including two Su-27 Flanker fighters and two Su-24 Fencer tactical bombers briefly violated the airspace over the Swedish island of Gotland.
The incident took place while the Finnish and Swedish forces were engaged in a joint exercise in the Baltic Sea. The Russian flight group took off from the nearby enclave of Kaliningrad.
They were met by a patrol of two JAS-39 Gripen fighters of the Swedish Air Force to intercept and visually identify them.
Following the incursion, personnel of the Russian embassy in Sweden were summoned to the Foreign Ministry.
Citing anonymous sources, the Swedish channel TV4 Nyheterna reported on March 30, 2022, that the two Su-24 bombers were in fact armed with nuclear weapons at the time of the interception.
When asked to confirm this information, the Chief of the Swedish Air Force Carl-Johan Edström refused to comment.
“Exactly how the Russian planes were armed, there is nothing we comment on at the moment,” Edström told local channel SVT. “What I want to point out is that if we had seen an increased threat to Sweden, we would have communicated about this.”
The Sukhoi Su-24 is a variable-sweep wing two-seater and twin-engine supersonic bomber developed in the Soviet Union in the early 1970s. It is capable of carrying up to two TN-1000 or TN-1200 gravity tactical nuclear bombs.