UK, Norway fighter jets scramble to track Russia patrol plane

Typhoon jets take off from the UK and Norwegian F-35As are also scrambled in a NATO response to the Russian aircraft.

A Typhoon jet takes off from the RAF Coningsby's base in Lincolnshire, the UK, in 2018 [File: Phil Noble/pool/AFP]
A Typhoon jet takes off from the RAF's Coningsby base in Lincolnshire, the UK, in 2018 [File: Phil Noble/pool/AFP]

Fighter jets from the United Kingdom were scrambled to intercept a Russian military aircraft operating near UK airspace north of Scotland, NATO and the UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF) say.

Typhoon fighters took off from an RAF base in northeast Scotland on Sunday to intercept the Russian Tu-142 maritime patrol aircraft that approached UK airspace from the North Atlantic Ocean after flying in international airspace over the Norwegian Sea, the RAF said in a statement on Tuesday.

As part of a joint NATO response, Norway also scrambled its air force’s F-35A fighter planes.

“At no point did the Russian aircraft enter UK sovereign airspace” the RAF said in a statement. “Quick reaction alert Typhoons are launched to intercept unidentified aircraft flying in the UK’s area of interest,” it added.


NATO Air Command said on Tuesday that the Russian plane was not in compliance with international air safety procedures and may have posed a danger to other aircraft flying in the North Atlantic region.

NATO did not specify exactly what air safety rules the Tu-142 – referred to by the NATO code name BEAR-F – had violated during its flight on Sunday.

“After scrambling to intercept the Russian aircraft, we were in close contact with RAF battlespace mangers, who directed us towards the aircraft and relayed orders throughout, ensuring we could confirm where they were and what they were doing at all times,” one of the RAF’s Typhoon pilots was quoted as saying.

Last week, Germany’s air force said German and UK fighter planes, operating as part of NATO’s air defence in northeastern Europe, had intercepted three Russian reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace over the Baltic Sea.

Two Russian Su-27 fighter planes and an Ilyushin IL-20 aircraft were flying without transmitting transponder signals in international airspace, the German air force said in a tweet.


NATO members Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania do not have their own fighter jets, so the military alliance has secured their airspace in northeastern Europe since 2004 with the assistance of air forces from other NATO members.

Source: Al Jazeera