RAF

RAF Typhoons intercept four Russian military aircraft

The fighter jets, supported by a Voyager air-to-air refuelling tanker, escorted the Russian aircraft out of the UK's area of interest.

Royal Air Force fighter jets have intercepted and escorted four Russian military aircraft close to the UK.

Quick Reaction Alert Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray were scrambled on Wednesday morning against "unidentified aircraft approaching the UK area of interest".

They turned out to be two Tu-95 Bear H bombers and two Tu-142 Bear F maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft.

The Typhoons, supported by a Voyager air-to-air refuelling tanker, escorted the Russian aircraft out of the UK's area of interest.

At no point did the Russian aircraft enter UK sovereign airspace.

An RAF spokesperson said: "Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighters based at RAF Lossiemouth supported by a Voyager from RAF Brize Norton were scrambled today against unidentified aircraft approaching the UK area of interest. 

"Subsequently we intercepted and escorted four Russian Bear aircraft."

Photo from August 2021 of a Russian TU-142 Bear F that was tracked by the Royal Air Force
Photo from August 2021 of a Russian TU-142 Bear F that was tracked by the Royal Air Force (Picture: RAF).

Michael Clarke, former Director-General of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), told Forces News we can expect "more potential incursions, more cyber hacking... and more propaganda" as tensions continue to rise over Russia's military build up on Ukraine's borders.

"I doubt if these things are matters of coincidence, the fact that we've got aircraft encroaching on British airspace and ships apparently coming into the Channel with their transponders turned off," he said.

"We'll see all of that and they'll build right up to some sort of peak if there is to be some sort of military action in a few weeks time against Ukraine.

The scrambling of the RAF aircraft comes after a Royal Navy warship began monitoring two Russian naval vessels on Tuesday as they transited through the English Channel.

The RAF routinely intercepts aircraft approaching what it describes as the "UK area of interest".

In November 2021, RAF jets were launched in response to Russian TU-160 Blackjack strategic bombers.

Officials said at the time the fighters escorted the Russian aircraft out of the "area of interest", and that the bombers did not enter UK airspace.