The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has revealed that RAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Typhoon fighter aircraft were scrambled to intercept two Russian Blackjacks sighted over the North Sea.
The Blackjacks were said to be approaching UK airspace.
Deployed from RAF Lossiemouth, the Typhoons were accompanied by an RAF Voyager from Brize Norton. The air-to-air refuelling capability of the Voyager extends the range and endurance of Typhoon jets.
The release stated that the RAF worked in cooperation with Nato allies to monitor the Russian aircraft and intercept them.
The Blackjacks were reportedly passing through a range of international airspace before being intercepted over the North Sea.
According to MoD, the Typhoons escorted the Russian aircraft from the UK’s area of interest and prevented their entry into the UK’s sovereign airspace.
UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Our brave RAF pilots have shown again that we are ready to respond to any threat to the UK. Alongside our Nato allies, we must remain vigilant and aware of Russian military activity.”
The incident on Friday was the second event that week involving the deployment of RAF aircraft to investigate Russian activity in the sky. The first incident did not involve an intercept by the Typhoons.
If an aircraft approaches UK airspace, it is detected by a team of Air Operations (Systems) Officers at the Control and Reporting Centre (CRC) at RAF Boulmer.
The National Air Defence Operations Centre (NADOC) then gathers information from radar sites across the UK and from civilian air traffic and intelligence agencies and decides if the threat is serious enough to warrant the scrambling of Typhoon fighter jets.
It then passes the order to CRCs at RAF Scampton and RAF Boulmer, which in turn deliver the scramble message to pilots at RAF Lossiemouth.