RAF Typhoons escort two US B-52 bombers through UK airspace 150620 CREDIT MOD.jpg
RAF

RAF Aircraft In Action Across Europe Supporting NATO Allies

Throughout the week, RAF aircraft have been supporting NATO allies across the continent.

RAF Typhoons escort two US B-52 bombers through UK airspace 150620 CREDIT MOD.jpg

Royal Air Force aircraft have been in action across Europe during the week in support of NATO allies.

They undertook missions including escorting US aircraft and scrambling to monitor Russian planes operating near the Baltics.

RAF Typhoon fighter jets from RAF Coningsby met two US Air Force B-52 bombers off the North of Scotland as they arrived from their American base in the early hours of Monday morning to conduct a strategic training mission during the annual NATO BALTOPS exercise.

"NATO remains the best guarantor of our collective security and we continue to stand alongside our allies in the Baltics," Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said.

"That is why, despite the ongoing pandemic, the RAF’s participation in this multinational exercise is vital for enhancing Allied capabilities and demonstrating our combined strength."

The Typhoons from XI(F) Squadron welcomed the B-52s and proceeded to escort them across the North Sea.

USAF KC-135 tankers from RAF Mildenhall refuelled the aircraft as they proceeded towards the Baltics.

A Voyager tanker from RAF Brize Norton supported the Typhoons during the operation.

The effort of the Voyager was coordinated from RAF Sentry and Sentinel aircraft from RAF Waddington.

The B-52s from the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota also conducted training with RAF Typhoon jets, part of the Baltic Air Policing mission, as they flew over Latvia and Estonia.

On Tuesday, Typhoon fighter jets from RAF Lossiemouth's 6 Squadron, currently in Lithuania, were switched from the BALTOPS exercise to intercept three Russian aircraft off the Baltic coast.

Another Typhoon scramble followed on Thursday, when a Russian intelligence-gathering aircraft flew over the Baltic Sea.

"This week's missions have highlighted the flexibility of the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission; whether it’s working with the US Bomber Task Force or reacting to live Baltic airspace incursions, we are ready to react," said Wing Commander Stu Gwinnett, the 135 Expeditionary Air Wing commander that is carrying out the NATO Air Policing mission.

"This is a testament to the flexibility, training and professionalism of the deployed RAF personnel here in Lithuania and our ability to work with our NATO partners."

Reflecting on the air activity during the week, Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff said the RAF have "demonstrated air and space power on a global scale, operating at range, at speed, and precisely."

"Royal Air Force command and control, surveillance, refuelling and fighter aircraft working alongside our NATO allies, patrolling our skies and protecting our shared freedom," he added.

Cover image: RAF Typhoons escort two US B-52 bombers through UK airspace (Picture: MOD).