French Air Force Intercepts and Escorts Two Russian Aircraft
(Source: French air force; issued Feb 09, 2017)
(Issued in French; unofficial translation by
A French air force Mirage 2000-5 air-defense fighter scrambled from Lorient escorted two Russian air force Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers as they flew down France’s Atlantic coastline before turning around and heading home. (French AF photo)
On Thursday, February 09, 2017, two Russian air force Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers flew over international waters and approached a hundred kilometers from the French coast without ever penetrating our airspace. They were intercepted and escorted by air force fighters throughout their flight along French coasts.

The alert was given at 7:00 am by the NATO Operations Center at Uedem (Germany), which then contacted the National Center for Flight Operations in Lyon Mont-Verdun. Six Russian airplanes were flying near the Norwegian coastline, and were quickly taken into account by the Norwegian Operational Readiness Force.

Four of the six airplanes then headed back to Russia, while the two Tu-160 Blackjack bombers continued their flight towards the United Kingdom. They were met and accompanied by Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons. Flying around the west of Ireland, the two Russian planes headed for Brittany.

At the same time, at 7:30 am, the Higher Air Defense Authority (HADA) decided to deploy an E-3F (AWACS) aircraft to track the progress of the Russian bombers and also positioned a C-135 tanker aircraft in the area at about 11:00.

Around 12:30, as the two Russian bombers approached the French coasts, the HADA scrambled two Mirage 2000-5 of the Lorient QRA detachment to intercept and escort them. A Rafale of the Saint Dizier QRA detachment also joined the patrol from eastern France, before the interception, which took place at around 13h.

Joint Anglo-French mission to escort Russian Blackjack bombers around the UK, down to Spain, and back home to Northern Russia. (Twitter infographic)

Flying south towards Spain, the patrol accompanied the Russian aircraft until they were met by Spanish air force F-18 fighters, before the Russian bombers turned around and began their return journey.

These interception and escort missions were commanded by the National Center for Flight Operations in Lyon Mont-Verdun, in close collaboration with NATO's two operating centers in the north (Uedem) and the south (Torrejón).

During this airspace protection mission, the Air Force deployed two Rafales, two Mirage 2000-5s, a C-135 refueling aircraft and an E-3F AWACS in order to guarantee the sovereignty of our national airspace.


RAF Jets Scramble to Intercept Russian Bombers
(Source: British Forces News; issued Feb 09, 2017)
RAF Typhoon fighters have scrambled to intercept two Russian Air Force bombers which were flying near to UK airspace.

The Typhoons first took off from RAF Lossiemouth this morning on a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA). They were later joined by a Voyager refuelling tanker from RAF Brize Norton.

As the Russian Tu-160 Blackjack bombers flew south, further Typhoons scrambled from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire. The Russian aircraft are now flying north again.

A Royal Air Force spokesman said:

"We can confirm that quick reaction alert Typhoon aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Coningsby scrambled to monitor two Blackjack bombers while they were in the UK area of interest. At no point did the Russian aircraft enter UK territorial airspace."

Quick Reaction Alerts by the RAF are not unusual. Last year RAF Typhoons intercepted Russian Air Force aircraft on several occasions, once when they flew east over the English Channel before returning.

At no time did the Russian aircraft enter UK airspace.


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