RAF Typhoons scramble to intercept two Russian ‘Bear’ bombers after they threatened UK airspace in brazen swoop | The Sun

RAF Typhoons scramble to intercept two Russian ‘Bear’ bombers after they threatened UK airspace in brazen swoop | The Sun

August 14, 2023

RAF TYPHOONS intercepted two Russian "Bear" bombers after they threatened UK airspace in a brazen swoop.

The two jets scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth to chase down theCold War-era planes sent by Vladimir Putin's forces.

The two fighter jets were supported by an RAF Voyager air-to-air refuelling tanker flying alongside them on the mission.

It cames after the Royal Navy is also understood to have monitored the movements of a Russian corvette, RFS Merkuriy.

Putin's warship is believed to have passed through the English Channel over the weekend.

The two incidents came amid ongoing tensions between the UK and Russia.

Dutch and Danish F-16s were also scrambled to track the two Bear bombers today as part of a joint Nato mission.

Russian planes and warships are often spotted near the UK as they carry out missions around the North Sea and the Arctic.

British forces however are always on alert to monitor and intercept should Putin's men stray too close.

Typhoons are supersonic jets that can hit speeds of up to 1,320mph – with some 130 of the planes in service with the UK.

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One of the Typhoon pilots who shadowed the Bears, who was not named, said "adrenaline kicked in" when the scramble alarm was sounded "in the early hours of the morning".

They added: “It’s really satisfying to know we’ve been able to make a successful intercept, maintaining the integrity of UK and Nato airspace."

The jets refuelled from the Voyager tanker to extend their time in the sky and keep close tabs on the Bear, an ageing type of four-engined aircraft from the era of the Soviet Union which has been converted from a bomber to reconnaissance role.

The pilot added: "Working in tandem with ground control operators, and with air-to-air refuelling from an RAF Voyager, we were able to stay on task until the mission was complete, and the target aircraft departed the UK’s area of interest.” 

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the Russian planes involved in the latest incident were maritime patrol aircraft used for reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare.

MoD officials said the Russian bombers passed "north of the UK". The Typhoons' base RAF Lossiemouth is in Moray on the North East coast of Scotland.

Dutch officials earlier confirmed the detection of two bombers flying close to Denmark and towards the Netherlands.

Danish F-16s were deployed and the aircraft were stopped before they entered Nato airspace.

The Royal Netherlands Air Force said that planes are intercepted if they do not have a unique identifying code, did not provide a flight plan, and if there is no two-way conversation.

Tupolev Tu-142s – or "Bears" as they are dubbed by Nato – are long-range anti-submarine and maritime warfare planes.

They are relics based on the original Tu-95 nuclear bomber from the 1950s.

But they are still key part of Putin's air force, with nearly two dozen of the Tu-142 still in service.

Minister for the Armed Forces, James Heappey, said: “RAF crews at Lossiemouth maintain a constant watch over UK airspace and are always ready to take action at a moment’s notice to keep our country safe.

“Pilots launched in their Typhoon jets to intercept two Russian long-range bombers this morning, monitoring them as they passed north of the Shetland Islands, ready to counter any potential threat to UK territory.”

It comes after the RAF revealed they had taken part in 50 intercepts of Russian aircraft in just four months on the edge of Europe.

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