On March 11, RAF quick reaction alert Typhoon aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth scrambled to monitor two Tu-142 Bear Maritime Patrol Aircraft while they were in the UK area of interest. This is the second time RAF jets have been scrambled to monitor Russian aircraft in the last few days.
Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff, said: ‘These Russian bombers do not comply with international air traffic rules, are a hazard to airliners and are not welcome in our airspace. RAF Typhoons, alongside our NATO allies, ensured these Russian aircraft posed no hazard.’
One of the Quick Reaction Alert pilots from RAF Lossiemouth, who intercepted the Russian Bears, said:
“This was my first time intercepting Russian Long Range Aviation and everything ran on rails. Our first intercept occurred to the west of the Shetland Islands, where we shadowed the two Russian Tu-142 Bear-F aircraft as they tracked south.
The UK has some of the busiest airspace in the world and civilian airliners are constantly using the airways in this area, so our presence ensured UK Air Traffic Controllers could continue to manage this busy airspace around the hazard of the Russian activity.
Subsequently the two Russian Bears continued to track south towards the Bay of Biscay where they were met by French Quick Reaction Alert. We intercepted the Bears as they turned back North before we handed them off to additional QRA Typhoons again launched from RAF Lossiemouth.”
One of the Tu-142s. RAF Crown Copyright 2020