Armed fighter jets intercept Russian bombers near UK airspace

Two armed Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter jets have intercepted Russian bombers operating near UK airspace.

A quick reaction alert (QRA) was launched from Leuchars Station in Fife on Wednesday morning in response to the two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack bombers, which had been detected by Nato air defence radars.

Fighters from the Royal Norwegian Air Force – Luftforsvaret F-16s, from Bodo Airbase – had initially intercepted and identified the Russian aircraft as they headed south.

As the Russian Blackjacks approached the UK area of interest, a Voyager Multi-Role Tanker Transport was also launched from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

RAF QRA Typhoons were scrambled from their temporary Leuchars base to intercept the Russian planes.

As the Blackjacks returned north, they were handed back over to the Norwegian fighters while the RAF Typhoons returned to their permanent home at Lossiemouth, Moray.

One of the Typhoon pilots involved in the mission said: "We worked closely with units from around the Royal Air Force to deliver another successful intercept, maintaining the safety and integrity of UK and Nato airspace throughout.

"The Control and Reporting Centre at RAF Scampton routed us directly to the Tu-160 Blackjacks so that we could take over the mission from our Norwegian allies.

"Air to air refuelling from an RAF Voyager ensured we were able to stay on task until the two Blackjacks departed from the UK's area of interest."