Typhoons scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth to intercept Russian Bear jets heading for UK airspace
- Two RAF jets sent to intercept Russian aircraft headed for the UK
- The Typhoon fighters escorted Russian Bear bombers away from Britain
- Ministry of Defence insisted that the jets did not pose a military threat
- But this is just the latest in a string of incidents involving Russian aircraft coming dangerously close to Britain
The RAF was forced to scramble two fighter jets today after Russian bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons were spotted flying towards British territory.
The Typhoon jets were launched from RAF Lossiemouth in north-east Scotland to intercept two Russian Bear aircraft and escort them away from the UK.
The Ministry of Defence said today that the Russian planes never crossed into British airspace – but the incident is the latest in a series of face-offs with the country’s air force.
The RAF also sent a Voyager refuelling tanker into the skies to assist the Typhoons as they escorted the bombers away from the country.
A spokesman for the MoD said: ‘RAF Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighter aircraft were launched today from RAF Lossiemouth after unidentified aircraft were tracked flying towards UK airspace.
‘The aircraft were identified as Russian Bear aircraft which were escorted by the RAF Typhoon fighters until they were out of the UK area of interest.
‘At no time did the Russian military aircraft cross into UK sovereign airspace.’
The MoD said that the aircraft were not considered a threat to Britain at any time.
The incident is the latest in a string of near-misses involving Russian planes and ships coming dangerously close to British territory.
Last month, a Russian warship and two bombers all skirted near the UK, prompting a military response from the Royal Navy and the RAF.
Two Typhoons were deployed to intercept a pair of Russian Bear bombers, while HMS Argyll was sent to monitor a Russian destroyer and two other ships in the English Channel.
Defence sources suggested at the time that the Russian president was attempting to spy on Nato war games taking place in Scotland.
As well as defending British airspace, RAF jets have been deployed elsewhere in Europe – earlier this week two Typhoon fighter jets deployed north of Estonia had to escort an II-20 Coot reconnaissance plane out of Nato’s area of interest.
It comes after there were 14 Russian incursions into Nato airspace in the last year, eight of which were in Estonia.
The fighter jets were patrolling the skies above the Baltic States as part of a collaborative effort along with other Nato countries amid soaring aggression from Russia.
It was the first time the fighters had to be deployed since they arrived at Amari airbase, earlier this month.
Speaking at the base, RAF Wing Commander Stu Smiley downplayed the threat posed by Russia, adding: ‘There may be some waving between cockpits just to show friendly atmosphere.’
The RAF identified the Russian plane, which was flying in international airspace, north of Estonia, at around lunch time on Tuesday as British and US troops took part in a series of war games.
British troops took part in Estonia’s biggest ever military exercise on Russia’s doorstep to send a warning to Mr Putin.
In a huge show of strength amid continuing Cold War-style aggression from Moscow, over 150 UK soldiers and planes deployed to the Baltic region to join almost 14,000 troops in war games.
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