RAF jets scrambled to intercept Russian bombers off Scottish coast
ROYAL Air Force jets scrambled to intercept Russian bombers that were heading towards the UK’s aircraft carrier yesterday, on exercise off the coast of Scotland.
Typhoon jets shadowed two massive Tupulev 160 bombers as they flew out of the Arctic circle towards UK sovereign waters.
HMS Queen Elizabeth, the navy’s biggest vessel, was in the final stages of exercise Joint Warrior, alongside US and Dutch warships.
The long-range Russian bombers, known as Blackjacks, were built to carry nuclear missiles and have a wingspan of more than 50 metres.
An RAF source said the Blackjacks were “a hazard to other aviation” because they were not talking to air traffic control or broadcasting their locations.
The Russians skirted Norway’s coast and flew south towards the Shetland Islands before looping round in tear shape yesterday afternoon.
“Typhoon fighters based at RAF Lossiemouth were scrambled today against unidentified aircraft approaching the UK area of interest,” the RAF said.
The planes were part of a quick reaction unit and were backed by an RAF Voyager, based at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, which provided air to air refuelling.
“We intercepted and escorted two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack long range strategic bomber aircraft,” the RAF added.
Nine ships, 15 fighter jets, 11 helicopters and 3,000 personnel from the UK, US and the Netherlands took part in the Joint Warrior exercise, as well as an unknown number of submarines.
It was the first time the carrier strike group had assembled ahead of HMS Queen Elizabeth's first operational deployment to the South China Sea next year.
Last month, RAF fighter jets intercepted Russian military aircraft in the North Sea near UK airspace.
The planes were identified as two Russian Tu-142 Bear F anti-submarine warfare and maritime patrol aircraft.
The Quick Reaction Alert Typhoons, flown by pilots from RAF Lossiemouth, in Moray, were launched from Leuchars Station in Fife where the pilots are temporarily based.
It was the third time in six days the Typhoons had been scrambled in response to Russian planes.
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