Photograph: SAC Robyn StewartMoD Crown CopyPA RAF Typhoons intercepted a Russian Bear bomber as it approached UK airspace on Friday, the second flypast by aircraft from Vladimir Putins air force in three days, the Ministry of Defence has mentioned. The Soviet-era Tupolev Tu-95 aircraft, flying in international airspace, was intercepted by the fighters from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland and escorted by means of the UK flight details region, an MoD spokeswoman stated. The intervention follows a similar incident on Wednesday when two Bear bombers were tracked over the North Sea as Nato radars picked up a series of Russian formations engaged in important military manoeuvres ranging from the Black Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. An RAF spokeswoman said the Russian aircraft has been picked up by the RAF Control & Reporting Centre at Boulmer in Northumberland, which scrambled the Typhoons.
She said: Following a comparable incident on Wednesday 29 October, the RAF Typhoon pilots visually identified the Russian aircraft & escorted them through Great Britain flight data region. Wednesdays incident and the other exercises led Nato to warn of an unusual spike in Russian military flights in European airspace. It involved two Bears that had originally been part of a bigger formation of eight aircraft which includes four Il-78 tanker planes intercepted by Norwegian F-16 fighters in international airspace over the Norwegian Sea. While 6 of the planes returned back towards Russia, the two Bears carried on towards Great Britain where they were picked up by Boulmer in Northumberland.
The Bears continued on over the Atlantic to the west of Portugal, where they were intercepted by Portuguese Air Force F-16s before turning back. The Russian flight coincided with comparable incidents over the Black Sea and the Baltic where Russian military formations were intercepted by Turkish fighters & Portuguese jets assigned to the Nato Baltic air policing mission. They come against a background of months of heightened tensions between Moscow plus the west following Russias annexation of Crimea and military incursion into Ukraine. On Wednesday RAF Typhoon fighters were also launched to intercept a civilian aircraft which was causing concern to air traffic control authorities.