RAF Typhoon jets intercept Russian military aircraft near Estonia
RAF fighter jets intercepted a Russian aircraft near Estonia on Sunday, the Ministry of Defence has said.
The Typhoon jets closed in on a Russian IL-76 military transport aircraft that was flying close to Estonian air space.
The RAF jets were operating from Amari Air Base in Estonia, the MoD said as it shared photographs of the mission.
A statement added that the interception was “a routine Nato mission for the Typhoons which provides reassurance that the UK is here to work in partnership with Estonia”.
An unnamed Typhoon pilot said: “We were scrambled to intercept an aircraft that was approaching Estonian air space from the south.
“We identified and monitored it as it transited close to Nato air space.
“This is standard protocol for aircraft that might not be communicating with air traffic control or on a recognised flight plan.”
The pilot, from XI (Fighter) Squadron, attached to 121 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW), added: “We continued to escort the transport aircraft as it transited in a north direction, away from Estonian air space.”
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “As this latest quick reaction alert (QRA) demonstrates, the RAF are frequently called upon to use their world-class skills and capabilities to help police and protect the skies over the Baltics.”
The RAF is deployed on Operation Azotize in Estonia in support of Baltic air policing.
It was the 14th QRA scramble and intercept since the RAF took over enhanced air policing from the German Air Force on May 3 as part of Baltic air policing.