RAF Typhoons scrambled to intercept intruding Russian bombers

British RAF Typhoon fighters scrambled from a Scottish airbase to intercept and turn away Soviet-era bombers just North of Scotland.
Christopher McFadden
Image of an RAF Typhoon intercepting a Russian Tu-142 Bear-F.

His Majesty's Government/MoD 

In an event quickly becoming predictable, Russian aircraft (a Soviet-era Russian Tupolev Tu-142 Bear-F and Tu-142 Bear-J) have been intercepted and driven away by British Royal Airforce Typhoons North of Scotland. Scrambled on Monday (August 14), the RAF fighters took off from Lossiemouth in northeast Scotland. This is one of the RAF's two Quick Reaction Alert [QRA] stations where fighter pilots are constantly alert.


According to a British Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson, the interception occurred near the Shetland Islands, reports the Telegraph. This is not the first time this has happened in the last few years, with a similar event occurring in November 2021 and June 2023. Russian bombers were also intercepted fairly recently in March 2020 near Alaska.

The recent RAF interception also follows Denmark intercepting two Russian bombers flying over its airspace. At the same time, Russia claimed to have scrambled a MiG-29 fighter jet to prevent a Norwegian military patrol aircraft from violating its border. According to the Dutch Royal Airforce, Russian planes were headed toward the NATO military monitoring area but were intercepted before entering Dutch airspace. Despite the deployment of Dutch F-16s, the bombers were turned back, and no further action was necessary.

It is unclear whether the three incidents were caused by the same Russian aircraft, which have become more frequent since the invasion of Ukraine. “It’s really satisfying to know we’ve been able to make a successful intercept, maintaining the integrity of UK and NATO airspace,” said one of the RAF pilots (who took part in the interception north of Scotland) in a statement released by the MoD.

“When the alarm for a scramble happened in the early hours of the morning, the adrenaline kicked in. Working in tandem with ground control operators, and with air-to-air refueling from an RAF Voyager, we were able to stay on task until the mission was complete, and the target aircraft departed the UK’s area of interest,” they added.

Bombers turned back

To ensure the success of the Typhoon jets' mission, the Voyager refueling aircraft remained in the air during the incident, according to the Ministry of Defence. Officials emphasized that Russian aircraft, which do not communicate with air traffic control or utilize the "squawk" process to signal their presence, can pose a danger to other aircraft within UK-controlled airspace.

“RAF crews at Lossiemouth maintain a constant watch over UK airspace and are always ready to take action at a moment’s notice to keep our country safe,” said James Heappey, the armed forces minister. "The Typhoons and Voyager have returned to their base, and the aircraft have been refueled to remain ready to respond to any future potential threats," explains the MoD.

Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron
Job Board