Typhoon fighter aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth have today been scrambled to monitor Russian long-range aircraft flying in international airspace north of Scotland.
On this occasion, the Russian aircraft however turned away as they approached the UK Flight Information Region (FIR), north of the Scottish coast and as such no interception was needed.
To support the Typhoons, a Voyager aircraft from RAF Brize Norton was also launched to conduct Air to Air Refuelling. This is standard procedure and allows the Typhoons to extend their time in the air.
The Minister for Armed Forces James Heappey MP said: “Once again our RAF personnel have demonstrated their exceptional abilities to protect our skies, responding to provocation without hesitation. The dangerous flying of Russian aircraft towards our air space is a clear reminder of the threats that we face as a nation on a daily basis.”
The monitoring of Russian military activity ensures the safe passage for all other aircraft, including civilian transatlantic airliners that are under UK civilian air traffic control. Scrambles such as this one therefore results when Russian aircraft fly towards the UK FIR, the part of International airspace that is controlled by the UK for the benefit of all.
The Russian aircraft was monitored throughout their flight by the National Air and Space Operations Centre at RAF High Wycombe and the Air Surveillance and Control System at RAF Boulmer. Activity was coordinated closely with NATO allies, including the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem in Germany.
Today the Voyager allocated to this task, was the recently returned to service VIP configured aircraft. This Voyager has now re-joined the rotation of tanker aircraft that are held on standby to support the UK’s Quick Reaction Alert mission as conducted by the RAF.
Air Vice Marshal Duguid, Air Officer Commanding 11 Group said: “The interception by RAF Typhoons of Russian military aircraft in the UK FIR demonstrates our continuing resolve to police, protect and defend our airspace 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
He added: “Today’s operational debut of the VIP Voyager demonstrates the aircraft’s ability to continue as an operational asset alongside its VIP role”.