Six RAF fighter jets were scrambled to intercept Russian military aircraft on Saturday after approaching UK airspace, the Ministry of Defence has said.
The unidentified aircraft were tracked heading towards the north-west coast of Scotland, prompting the air force to deploy three pairs of Typhoons from its Quick Reaction Alert programme.
Two pairs of Typhoons were dispatched from RAF Lossiemouth close to Moray in north-east Scotland, while the third flew from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.
Flying in formation, two pairs approached the aircraft before withdrawing, while the third pair forced the aircraft to change course.
The Russian aircraft were later identified as Tupolev Tu-95 Bears which are used as strategic bombers and long-range maritime patrol planes.
The total number of Russian aircraft involved in the incident has not been revealed.
An RAF spokesperson said: "This was a routine response to Russian aircraft approaching UK air space and was coordinated with several other NATO allies."
A Voyager tanker air-to-air refuelling aircraft from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire also took part in the mission.
The Typhoons were supported by aircraft from Norway and France, according to RAF Lossiemouth.
Last month, Typhoons at RAF Lossiemouth were scrambled after "unidentified aircraft" were tracked flying towards UK airspace.
Reports suggested the aircraft was a Russian bomber that was spotted off the coast of Shetland.
No interception took place and the aircraft remained outside the UK's "area of interest".
Last summer, RAF fighter jets were deployed several times to see off Russian planes encroaching Estonian airspace.
At the time, RAF personnel had been participating in Operation Azotize, a four-month deployment in the Baltic country, to support the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission.
Cover Image: RAF Typhoon jet intercepts a Tupolev Tu-95 Russian plane approaching UK airspace (Picture: RAF).