The British Royal Air Force (RAF) scrambled Typhoon fighter jets on Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) in Romania to intercept a Russian military aircraft.
RAF Typhoons took off after a Russian aircraft was detected entering the Bucharest Flight Information Region and heading towards Romanian territorial airspace.
Unlike usual military sorties, the aircraft did not file a flight plan and was not responding to Romanian air traffic control queries, creating a flight hazard.
Commenting on the incident, one of the RAF Typhoon pilots said: “When the unidentified, though suspected Russian aircraft entered the Romanian flight information region we were scrambled to carry out a visual identification.
“We were airborne within minutes and heading towards the track; it wasn’t long before we intercepted the aircraft and identified it as a Russian SU-24 Fencer. It had flown no closer than 20 miles from the Romanian coast before we intercepted it.
“We shadowed it until it left the flight information region heading north-east. We then resumed our combat air patrol mission and returned to base.”
RAF’s 121 Expeditionary Air Wing operates from the Mihail Kogalniceanu Airbase near Constanta on the Black Sea coast. RAF Typhoon jets are also stationed at the airbase as part of the deployment.
Since May, the UK has been providing QRA assistance to enhance the air policing carried out by the Romanian Air Force.
RAF 121 Expeditionary Air Wing commanding officer wing commander Lamping said: “Every time we scramble to intercept unidentified aircraft in support of the enhanced air policing mission we are demonstrating our steadfast commitment to Nato by helping to secure Nato airspace in the Black Sea region and reassure our Romanian allies.
Recently, RAF Regiment Gunners from across the 121 Expeditionary Air Wing conducted air personnel rescue drills.