EAST-WEST: Probing NATO's Northern Flank

On the average of three times monthly, a Soviet Tu-16 "Badger" reconnaissance jet roars off from the world's largest military base, just outside Murmansk, and heads westward to probe Norway's air defenses. Alerted by radar, a vast ultramodern command center in the craggy mountain range of northern Norway scrambles two Norwegian Royal Air Force F-104G Starfighters. The fighters usually intercept the Badger within a few minutes; one of them hangs off the Soviet craft's tail, while the other flies just ahead of its nose. The lead Norwegian Starfighter will then waggle its...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!