RAF jets scrambled twice in two days to intercept Russian aircraft

Typhoon fighter jet of the Royal Air Force intercepting a Russian Sukhoi Su-27. Image is illustrative
Typhoon fighter jet of the Royal Air Force intercepting a Russian Sukhoi Su-27. Image is illustrative Source: Royal Air Force

Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets of the Royal Air Force were scrambled twice in two days this week, for the first time since taking over the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission, to intercept Russian aircraft.

On Tuesday, May 14, RAF Typhoons were scrambled out of Ämari Air Base in a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) in response to two Russian Su-27 Flanker fighter aircraft and one Il-22 aircraft flying along the Baltic coast toward Kaliningrad, according to a British Ministry of Defence press release published on Thursday.

"The Russian pilots and crews behaved in a professional and calm manner with nothing untoward," said Wing Commander Paul 'Pablo' O'Grady, who was conducting QRA duty when the first scrambles was called. "We subsequently handed the Russian formation over to the Hungarian QRA that had launched out of Lithuania to continue the escort toward Kaliningrad."

On Wednesday, the British jets were once again scrambled from Ämari to intercept another two Su-27 aircraft accompanying an Il-22 aircraft, which they escorted toward Russia.

"At the same time as our troops forge stronger ties with NATO allies in Estonia, our RAF Typhoons are policing Baltic skies and providing a rapid response to any approaches toward NATO airspace," British Minister for the Armed Forces Mark Lancaster said. "Together it sends  a clear message — we are committed to defending NATO's borders and will support our allies in deterring any threats."

Lancaster visited Estonia last week, where he met in the field with British troops participating in Spring Storm, a large-scale multinational annual military exercise organized by the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF).

This week marks the first time that British jets have been scrambled since the RAF took over the Baltic Air Policing mission from the German Air Force last month.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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