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Reports of sonic blasts from Hornets again - Defence Forces deny another airspace violation

The Finnish Defence Forces says the operative surveillance flights were not associated with any airspace incursions, but will not reveal any more details. The Latvian Army has reported making similar flights over the Baltic Sea on Sunday to identify Russian aircraft, so it is possible that the Finnish jets were dispatched with the same purpose.

Stock image of a Hornet fighter from the Finnish Defence Forces. Image: Vesa Vaarama / Yle

Several reports of fighter aircraft breaking the sound barrier rained in from different quarters around Finland Sunday afternoon. The shock waves created by an object travelling through the air faster than the speed of sound creates a sonic boom, sounding much like an explosion.

Communications Director for the Finnish Defence Forces Mika Kalliomaa says an operative Air Force reconnaissance flight was in question, which is a part of daily airspace control.  

“The Air Force completed an operative mission this afternoon that involved flights that moved more quickly than normal. This resulted in a louder noise than is normally emitted from such exercises,” said Kalliomaa.

According to the Finnish Air Force, a sonic boom, observed as the sound of a loud explosion or shock wave, could have been observed in the area near Mikkeli and Kouvola in Eastern Finland after one in the afternoon.

Yle has also received information that more fighter observations were made in Central Finland near the city of Joutsa. One reader said the shock wave made the leaves on her trees fall to the ground and windows in her cottage rattle in the early afternoon.  

Latvia confirms identification flights

The Latvian Defence Forces revealed on their Twitter account that NATO air surveillance of the Baltic countries carried out by F-16 fighter jets occurred over the Baltic Sea twice today to identify Russian aircraft.

Latvia reported that two Suhoi Su-27 fighters and one Tupolev 22 bomber, now used as reconnaissance aircraft, from the Russian Air Force were identified.

Kalliomaa: No airspace incursions

Communications Director Kalliomaa says the Finnish fighter jet flights were not associated with any airspace incursions.

“If there is a suspicion of such, we announce it immediately,” he says.

The exercise was not one that had been pre-planned and Kalliomaa would not comment on any of the operational details.

Iltalehti was the first news source to report on the fighters, but the social network was also flooded with observations of the military aircraft.

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