RAF Typhoons scrambled to intercept Russian bombers over the North Sea as NATO reported dozens of planes in European airspace - 26 Russian aircraft flew 'military manoeuvres' in 24 hours including two Bear bombers followed by RAF fighters - Nato steps up its defences as it says two planes near Britain did not file flight plans or contact controllers - Alliance reported 'unusual' activity after intercepting 100 Russian planes in 2014 - triple the number in 2013..
.. Jets were scrambled by the RAF and allies in Germany, Portugal and Turkey after the 'unusual' spike in activity, which saw two giant Tu-95 Bear H bombers fly close to Britain yesterday. The alliance said Russia had conducted 'significant military manoeuvres in European airspace' - though it then added none of the planes had strayed into any specific country's territory. The two Bear bombers had been part of an eight-plane formation which was first intercepted by Norwegian F-16s over at 2am yesterday. While six of the planes returned back towards Russia, the two Bears carried on south west towards the UK where they were picked up by RAF Boulmer, Northumberland. The RAF scrambled Typhoon jets from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, northern Scotland, which tracked the Bear bombers as they continued through Britain's 'flight information region'. Nato said: 'The bomber and tanker aircraft from Russia did not file flight plans or maintain radio contact with civilian air traffic control authorities and they were not using on-board transponders..'.
Nato's new chief said today the alliance is increasing its readiness and air policing after yesterday's flurry of activity. Jens Stoltenberg said that while Nato is not back on a Cold War footing with Russia, its former arch-enemy as the Soviet Union, recent behaviour has severely undermined mutual trust. Mr Stoltenberg said the trans-Atlantic military alliance 'remains vigilant and ready to respond'. 'We need to keep our forces ready, therefore we are investing in high readiness, new capabilities,' he said. 'We are... increasing air policing as an answer to the increased air activities we are seeing from Russia.' He also urged Russia to remove its forces from Ukraine - Russia denies they are there - and warned against plans by pro-Russian separatists to hold local elections in eastern Ukraine.
from the RAF's FB page ;
"...On Wednesday, 29th October RAF Aerospace Battle Managers in RAF Boulmer’s Control and Reporting Centre (CRC) alerted and scrambled Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Typhoon fighter aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth to intercept Russian military ‘Bear’ aircraft flying in international airspace. The RAF Typhoon pilots visually identified the Russian aircraft and escorted it through the UK flight information region. The primary role of the RAF is to defend the UK “365, 24, 7”. The RAF remains alert and ready to intercept any unidentified military or civilian aircraft around UK airspace...."
The interceptions yesterday were unrelated to a sonic boom caused by RAF fighter jets across Kent. Typhoons from RAF Coningsby,Lincolnshire, flew at supersonic speeds to dramatically halt a Latvian cargo plane on its way to Birmingham after it 'caused concern' to air traffic controllers. The swoop, which resulted in the Lativan-registered plane being grounded at Stansted airport yesterday evening, sparked a massive sonic boom which was heard across a 50-mile radius. Soon after the incident, an unverified audio clip was posted online which appeared to have recorded the moment an RAF pilot warned the plane it risked being 'shot down'. A man was heard saying: 'I’m instructed by Her Majesty’s government of the United Kingdom to warn you if you do not respond you will be shot down’.