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How UK RAF fighter jets scrambled after Russian military aircraft approaches British airspace

 Russia’s Tu-142 anti-submarine warfare aircraft

UK Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter jets were scrambled on Saturday on an interception mission after Russian aircraft approached British airspace, the RAF press service reported.

"RAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Typhoon aircraft launched today from Lossiemouth and Coningsby [air force bases]," according to a statement posted on the RAF official page on Twitter.

"This was a routine response to Russian aircraft approaching UK air space and was coordinated with several other NATO allies," the statement added.

The statement did not specify the amount and model of the Russian aircraft at the issue, however, the pictures attached to the statement show Russia’s Tu-142 anti-submarine warfare aircraft.

Sky News television channel reported that three pairs of Typhoons were launched on the interception mission, adding that the Russian aircraft were later identified as Tupolev Tu-95 Bears.

Six RAF fighter jets were scrambled after Russian aircraft were spotted heading towards British airspace, The Typhoons, supported by an air-to-air refuelling aircraft, took to the skies as the unidentified planes were tracked heading towards the north-west coast of Scotland.

The six Typhoons from the air force’s Quick Reaction Alert programme were deployed in pairs. Two of them were dispatched from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray in north-east Scotland, while the third pair flew from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.

The Ministry of Defence said that two pairs approached the aircraft before withdrawing, while the third pair finished the job of forcing them to change course.

RAF Lossiemouth tweeted: “At no point did these aircraft enter UK sovereign airspace. The Russian aircraft were shadowed by our Typhoons, along with aircraft from our Nato partners in Norway and France.”

It added: “We are ready to respond to any unidentified aircraft and potential airborne threats, 24/7/365.”

Two weeks ago a Russian aircraft was seen heading towards the Shetland Isles. A Voyager air-to-air refuelling aircraft and two Typhoon fighter jets were sent out to intercept a jet thought to be a Russian Tu-95 bomber to the west of the island.

In April last year, Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth were scrambled twice in five days to prevent Russian military planes entering UK airspace.

During the same period, jets from RAF Coningsby were also deployed to a separate incident involving Russian aircraft.

Last summer, RAF fighter jets were deployed several times to see off Russian planes encroaching on Estonian airspace.

At the time, RAF personnel had been participating in Operation Azotize, a four-month deployment in the Baltic country, to support the Nato Baltic air policing mission.

Sources: TASS and The Guardian

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