14 September 2023
by Gareth Jennings
A file photo of a NATO RQ-4 Phoenix UAV that flew along the Finnish-Russian border for the first time on 13 September. (NATO)
NATO has flown its Northrop Grumman RQ-4D Phoenix high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) along the Finnish-Russian border for the first time.
NATO Air Command confirmed the mission, which had been visible via online flight tracker servicers that showed the RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 40-derived UAV flying from its home base at Sigonella on the Italian island of Sicily, and routing along a third of the length of the Finnish-Russian border up to about 460 km north of Helsinki, before returning along the same track.
“This mission was the first time a NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance Force (NAGSF) RQ-4D drone flew over Finland,” NATO Air Command said. “This mission came as NATO air forces continue to step up their reconnaissance missions on the alliance’s eastern borders in the wake of Russia’s full-fledged war against Ukraine.”
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