The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has scrambled its Eurofighter Typhoon multirole fighter jets twice in one day to intercept Russian military aircraft near Estonian airspace.
In the first instance, the Typhoons intercepted an AN-12 (Cub) Russian transport aircraft, while the second involved two Russian SU-27 Flanker fighters and a IL-22 (Coot B) transport aircraft.
The Typhoons operating from Ämari Air Base in Estonia performed the routine mission as part of their Nato enhanced air policing duties.
The RAF is deployed on Operation AZOTIZE, which is the UK’s contribution to Nato Baltic Air Policing to provide quick reaction alert (QRA) at all times.
As part of the operation, the RAF jets are flown to protect Baltic airspace and reassure Nato allies.
The UK took charge of the Nato Air Policing mission in the Baltic region last month, replacing the German Air Force.
Since then, the RAF performed 11 scramble and intercept operations.
In a release, the UK Ministry of Defence stated that the latest scrambles were carried out in a professional manner.
XI(Fighter) Squadron Typhoon pilot 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.”
Pilots were tasked with shadowing three Russian aircraft on the second scramble. The aircraft were transiting from north-west Russia around Estonia to Kaliningrad.
One of the pilots that called for the second scramble said: “The contacts were shadowed southward before handing them over to Swedish quick reaction alert aircraft, two SAAB Gripens.”