The RAF has confirmed a pair of rapid response jet fighters were scrambled to head off two Russian plans over the North Sea on Friday afternoon.
Two Quick Reaction Alert Typhoons launched from RAF Lossiemouth in the north of Scotland – and were later joined by an RAF Voyager to provide air-to-air refuelling as the mission went on.
The fighter planes intercepted a pair of TU-142 “Bear-F” Maritime Reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, described by the RAF as Cold War era.
They were tracked by Nato as they transited within the military alliance’s northern air policing area.
The Typhoons shadowed the Russian aircraft throughout their journey as they approached UK airspace.
In a statement, a Typhoon pilot from RAF Lossiemouth said: “We worked closely with units from around the Royal Air Force to deliver another successful intercept, maintaining the integrity of UK and Nato airspace throughout.
“We were initially kept informed by our Nato colleagues and then routed directly to the Bears by the RAF Control and Reporting Centre.
“Air to air refuelling from an RAF Voyager ensured we were able to stay on task until the mission was complete, and the aircraft departed from the UK’s area of interest.”
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Russian military aircraft entering the UK Flight Information Region, the UK’s controlled zone of international airspace, can pose a hazard to other air users, the RAF claimed.
It said the Russian planes often do not talk to air traffic control or “squawk” – broadcasting a code ensuring they are visible to other air users and air traffic controllers on the ground.
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