Six RAF fighter jets were scrambled on Saturday after Russian aircraft were spotted heading towards British airspace said the UK Ministry of Defense.
The Typhoons, supported by an air-to-air refuelling aircraft, took to the skies as the unidentified planes were tracked heading towards the north-west coast of Scotland.
The six Typhoons from the air force’s Quick Reaction Alert programme were deployed in pairs. Two of them were dispatched from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray in north-east Scotland, while the third pair flew from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.
The Ministry of Defence said that two pairs approached the aircraft before withdrawing, while the third pair finished the job of forcing them to change course.
One of the unidentified aircraft was later revealed to be a Tupolev Tu-95 Bear, a Russian aircraft used both as a strategic bomber and long-range maritime patrol plane. The total number of Russian aircraft involved in the incident has not been disclosed.
An RAF spokesman said: “This was a routine response to Russian aircraft approaching UK air space and was coordinated with several other Nato allies.”
RAF Lossiemouth tweeted: “At no point did these aircraft enter UK sovereign airspace. The Russian aircraft were shadowed by our Typhoons, along with aircraft from our Nato partners in Norway and France.”
Two weeks ago a Russian aircraft was seen heading towards the Shetland Isles. A Voyager air-to-air refuelling aircraft and two Typhoon fighter jets were sent out to intercept a jet thought to be a Russian Tu-95 bomber to the west of the island.
In April last year, Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth were scrambled twice in five days to prevent Russian military planes entering UK airspace.
During the same period, jets from RAF Coningsby were also deployed to a separate incident involving Russian aircraft.
Last summer, RAF fighter jets were deployed several times to see off Russian planes encroaching on Estonian airspace.
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