There are reports in the media saying Turkey shot down a Russian military aircraft after ignoring several warnings and after they entered Turkish airspace.

Which "warnings" are these? Are they standardized somehow?

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ they pick up the radio, set it to the desired frequency/ies and start yelling "get off my lawn!" $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Nov 25, 2015 at 8:43

1 Answer 1


This depends on the rules of engagement for a country and how the intercepting aircraft are instructed to act.

Radio Contact

The intercepting aircraft will try to establish radio contact on the distress frequencies available. 121.500 MHz or for NATO aircraft 243.000 MHz.

Visual Contact

Unless there is an imminent threat, the intercepting aircraft can position next to the intruding aircraft and establish visual contact with the pilots. There is also standardized procedures, such as the infamous rocking of wings.

Intercept (Image Source: www.cfinotebook.net)


Unless at high altitude, ground based units can shoot flares to attract attention and inform aircraft that they are entering prohibited or restricted airspace.

  • $\begingroup$ From this answer, I understand that they would have been warned possibly by flares and through radio on 121.500 (is this frequency used by all aircraft? I was assuming it was for civilian ones only); since Russia and Syria (the country which the alleged intruder was coming from) are not NATO countries. Is there any standard phraseology? I discard visual contact as this would require Turkish aircraft to enter Syrian airspace "just to warn". $\endgroup$
    – orique
    Nov 25, 2015 at 9:22
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @orique The answer lists possible methods. AFAIK from reports, the Turkish F16 only used radio to contact the Russian aircraft while they were still in Syrian airspace and bound for the Turkish airspace. 121.500 MHz is used by military and civilian aircraft. Military aircraft can tune it in at least, as otherwise interception of civilian aircraft would be difficult. $\endgroup$ Nov 25, 2015 at 9:26
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @orique Note that any country has the right to defend their sovereign airspace. This is why so much of the debate is focused on where the aircraft was shot down, since that is of primary interest from an international legal standpoint. Rules of engagement are as far as I'm aware national law (although possibly standardized across NATO), not international law. $\endgroup$
    – Sanchises
    Nov 25, 2015 at 12:51
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Actually the true debate is focused on where the aircraft was at the point the missile was fired. The political debate is focusing on where the aircraft was when it was hit, but that isn't necessarily the same place in aircraft capable of mach 1+ $\endgroup$
    – Jon Story
    Nov 25, 2015 at 13:20
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I doubt that's truly up for debate: legally speaking the point when the missile is launched is all that really matters, although I've no doubt the difference will be ignored when used for political point scoring. Essentially, Turkey is perfectly entitled to shoot missiles at anything over their territory: any other detail is down to the national law of Turkey. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Story
    Nov 25, 2015 at 17:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .