RAF Typhoons scrambled to intercept Russian aircraft twice in 24 hours

Watch: The RAF and Swedish Air Force intercept Russian aircraft on Thursday evening.

RAF Typhoons have intercepted multiple Russian aircraft twice in less than 24 hours.

On Thursday, the Typhoons and Swedish Air Force Gripens were scrambled to intercept a Russian air force spy plane, being escorted by a Sukhoi Su-27 fighter aircraft flying close to Nato and Swedish airspace.

Fighter jets from RAF Lossiemouth's 140 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) are currently deployed on Nato's Baltic Air Policing mission in Estonia and made the intercept with the Swedish jets.

Russia's Ilyushin Il-20 Coot-A intelligence-gathering planes are capable of analysing military communications and signals to assist attacking aircraft or ground forces.

On Friday, Typhoons were scrambled to intercept an AN12 'CUB' and an AN72 'COALER' which were travelling south from mainland Russia in the direction of the Kaliningrad Oblast.

The planes were not communicating with the appropriate Flight Information Regions (FIRs), but stayed in international airspace and flew professionally, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) said.

Later, the combat jets intercepted two Tupolev Tu-22M 'BACKFIRES' and two Su-30 SM FLANKER H, flying from mainland Russia over the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea.

The Typhoon aircraft were joined by F-18 jets from the Finnish Air Force as they escorted BACKFIRES and FLANKER through the Gulf of Finland, passing them onto Swedish Gripens.

Portuguese and Romanian F-16s, based at Siauliai Airbase in Lithuania, also escorted the Russian jets as they moved further south through Latvia and Lithuanian FIRs.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "These intercepts are a stark reminder that the RAF is always ready to defend our skies and those of our allies, while the co-ordinated action by several air forces serves as a clear demonstration of the value of our international alliances."

It comes after the UK's Foreign Secretary visited the RAF detachment currently serving in Estonia on Operation Azotize.

James Cleverly arrived at Amari Airbase, where he met senior RAF personnel responsible for leading the crews who have been involved in intercepting Russian aircraft.

This month, a Royal Air Force fighter pilot deployed to Estonia exclusively told Forces News what it is like coming face-to-face with Russian aircraft in the skies.

The interview is the first time an RAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) pilot on Op Azotize has spoken to the media about being scrambled and the rapid search to find aircraft.

Earlier this year, an American MQ-9 Reaper drone was forced to crash land in the Black Sea following an incident with a Russian Su-27 fighter aircraft.

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