RAF Typhoons scrambled to intercept Russian fighter jets

Dominic Nicholls
The RAF Typhoon (foreground) was scrambled to intercept the Russian SU-30 Flanker fighter jet in the Estonia/Finland area - REX

RAF jets were scrambled twice over the weekend to intercept Russian fighter aircraft. This weekend’s activity means that the RAF Typhoon fighters, based at Ämari Air Base in Estonia, have made eight intercepts of Russian aircraft since taking over the Baltic Air Policing mission on May 3, 2019.

On Friday evening, Typhoons designated as the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) aircraft intercepted a Russian SU-30 Flanker fighter aircraft that was flying to the north of Estonia.

The following day the British planes intercepted another SU-30 and an Ilyushin IL-76 Candid transport aircraft transiting north from Kaliningrad towards Estonian and Finnish airspace.

A Typhoon pilot from XI (Fighter) Squadron on duty at the time said: “We scrambled to intercept two contacts that were approaching Estonian airspace from the south. We escorted the two aircraft for 15 minutes as they transited back towards mainland Russia.  

 “We then handed over responsibility to two Finnish QRA aircraft, which had also been scrambled as the Russian aircraft operated on the airspace boundary between Estonia and Finland.”

A Russian IL-76 Candid transport plane (L) and an SU-30 Flanker fighter (R) shepherded by an RAF Typhoon fighter (C) Credit: RAF/REX

During both intercepts, the aircraft were flown at a safe distance and operated in a professional manner throughout.

The RAF is deployed on Operation Azotize in Estonia in support of the Nato Baltic Air Policing mission.

Elsewhere in the region 850 British soldiers lead Nato’s Enhanced Forward Presence battlegroup in Estonia and Poland, while nearly 2,000 UK Armed Forces personnel will deploy to the Baltic Sea later this summer to bolster maritime security in the region.

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