The ministry of defence has reportedly scrambled a number of RAF jets to intercept Russian aircraft spotted on radar near the Scottish coast.
Typhoon jets were scrambled after two Russian aircraft “entered the UK’s controlled zone of international airspace”, defence chiefs have said. It is understood that Quick Reaction Alert Typhoons, currently based at former RAF Leuchars, were scrambled after the Russian planes were identified as TU-142 Bear F maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft.
Russian military planes have been intercepted near the UK at least six times in the past 12 months. In November last year a similar incident saw two Russian bombers escorted by Typhoon jets after being detected flying over the Atlantic. The RAF said such incidents were not uncommon and fighter jets were dispatched on a “quick reaction alert”.
Andrew Brookes, a fellow at the Royal United Services Institute and former RAF pilot, said there was no reason why the planes should enter UK airspace and the incidents were signs of “Russia flexing its muscles. They are not trying to provoke a war,” he said. “It isn’t a Cold War… they are just using these tactics to poke us in the chest.”
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