The Typhoons launched from RAF Lossiemouth on Saturday morning and were joined by an RAF Voyager from RAF Brize Norton, which provided air-to-air refuelling for the Typhoons.
Two Russian Tu-142 Bear F aircraft were intercepted. These aircraft are used in the roles of Anti-Submarine Warfare and Maritime Patrol. It is essential that their movements are carefully monitored when operating close to UK airspace.
Russian military aircraft operating within the UK Flight Information Region can act as a hazard to other air users, especially in this case as this was busy airspace over the North Sea. Often these aircraft disable their transponders which are used for transmitting a code to identify the aircraft and indicate its position and altitude. It has also been reported that they do not talk to UK air traffic controllers, causing other civilian airliners in the area to be re-routed to prevent aircraft from flying too close.
To deter this unprofessional activity and mitigate the risks associated with Russian military aircraft flying in this busy international airspace, RAF Typhoons shadowed the two Russian Bears and closely monitored their movements.
Other NATO allies also launched their Quick Reaction Alert assets to assist in monitoring the Russian aircraft. Controllers from RAF Scampton coordinated the mission, liaising with NATO partners at the Combined Air Operations Centre in Uedem, Germany.
“As always our Pilots and their support team did a fantastic job, locating and shadowing the Russia aircraft quickly to ensure our area of responsibility was effectively policed, demonstrating our commitment to defend the UK and NATO.” An RAF spokesman said
The Voyager tanker supported the mission to provide air-to-air refuelling for the Typhoons. If a situation develops or another potential threat emerges, the Voyager’s ability to refuel Typhoons mid-flight increases their endurance so that they can redeploy and intercept further targets.
The incident concluded by early afternoon, with the Typhoons returning to RAF Lossiemouth and the Voyager returning to RAF Brize Norton. They were quickly returned to a state of readiness, available to respond to other potential threats to the United Kingdom, 24/7/365.
The Typhoon FGR.Mk 4 is a highly capable and extremely agile fourth-generation multi-role combat aircraft, capable of being deployed for the full spectrum of air operations, including air policing, peace support and high-intensity conflict. Initially deployed in the air-to-air role as the Typhoon F.Mk 2, the aircraft now has a potent, precision multi-role capability as the FGR4. The pilot performs many essential functions through the aircraft’s hands-on throttle and stick (HOTAS) interface which, combined with an advanced cockpit and the Helmet Equipment Assembly (HEA), renders Typhoon superbly equipped for all aspects of air operations. Although Typhoon has its own precision attack missions in all its combat deployments to date, its most essential role remains the provision of quick reaction alert (QRA) for UK and Falkland Islands airspace. Detachments have also reinforced NATO air defence in the Baltic and the Black Sea regions.