Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon fighter jets operating from Ämari Air Base in Estonia launched twice on Tuesday 25th June to intercept Russian military aircraft flying close to Estonian airspace.
Typhoons first intercepted a Russian military transport aircraft before later intercepting two Russian Flanker fighters and another military transport aircraft.
This is a routine mission for the Typhoons conducting NATO enhanced Air Policing, providing reassurance that the UK is working in partnership with Estonia.
The contacts on both scrambles flew safely and operated in a professional manner throughout the intercept.
A Typhoon pilot from XI(Fighter) Squadron, attached to 121 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW), who was conducting Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) duty when the first scramble was called said:
“We were scrambled to intercept a single aircraft that was flying down the Finnish/Estonian border from the East. We were tasked to identify the contact and shadow which is standard protocol.
“We identified the contact as an AN-12 (Cub) military transport and shadowed it in a westerly direction. Once the task was completed we were cleared to leave the contact and conduct training in segregated Estonian airspace.”
On the second scramble, one of the Typhoon pilots commented: “We were scrambled to intercept three contacts that were transiting from north west Russia around Estonia to Kaliningrad. We were tasked to identify the contacts and shadow them.
“We intercepted the aircraft off the west coast of Estonia, identified the contacts as an IL-22 (Coot B) military transport and two SU-27 Flanker fighters. The contacts were shadowed southward before handing them over to Swedish Quick Reaction Alert aircraft, two SAAB Gripens.”
The Royal Air Force is deployed on Operation AZOTIZE in Estonia in support of Baltic Air Policing. This is the tenth and eleventh QRA scramble and intercept respectively since the RAF took over enhanced Air Policing (eAP) from the German Air Force on 3 May 2019 as part of Baltic Air Policing.
The UK operates in support of NATO to reassure our allies and is a further demonstration of the UK’s commitment to the security of the region.