RAF jets have been scrambled for the second day in a row to an unidentified aircraft heading towards the UK “area of interest”.
It comes after four Russian bombers were “intercepted and escorted” by Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighters and a Voyager from RAF Brize Norton on Wednesday.
RAF jets have been scrambled to an ‘unidentified aircraft’Credit: PA
The type of aircraft approaching the UK has not yet been confirmed.
The RAF were alerted to an unidentified aircraft approaching the UK “area of interest” on Wednesday.
Two Russian Tu-95 Bear H strategic bombers were accompanied by two Tu-142 Bear F maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare planes.
Footage taken by the Russian crews on board one of the Tu-95s showed the aircraft practicing aerial refuelling before two RAF jets appear on either side of the bomber.
The RAF confirmed it had “intercepted and escorted” the four jets.
A spokesperson said: “Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighters based at RAF Lossiemouth supported by a Voyager from RAF Brize Norton were scrambled today against unidentified aircraft approaching the UK area of interest.
“Subsequently we intercepted and escorted four Russian Bear aircraft.”
At no time did the Russian bombers enter UK sovereign airspace.
A Russian report said: “In the course of the flight, the crews of Tu-95 aircraft practiced aerial refuelling.
“The flight time was about 15 hours.
“At some stages of the route, the Russian strategic missile carriers were accompanied by Eurofighter Typhoon fighters of the British Air Force.”
The scrambling of jets is not uncommon, with the RAF primed and ready to intercept any unrecognised aircraft at all times.
They have been launched in the past to shadow Russian military aircraft flown near UK airspace.
A quick reaction alert (QRA) is not uncommon and have been around since the Cold War.
Russian war planes can be a hazard as they do not “squawk” or transmit codes revealing their altitude and intentions.
They also do not talk to UK air traffic controllers, meaning other planes have to be re-routed to avoid a disastrous accident.
It comes amid mounting fears that Moscow could be set to invade Ukraine as soon as February as Western countries square up to Vladimir Putin’s war machine.
Tensions are hitting boiling point as Russia continues to ramp up its large-scale military presence in and around the country.
The US ordered 3,000 of its troops to eastern Europe as Joe Biden warned Ukraine’s president to “prepare for impact” as Russia could invade within days.
It’s understood the US president told Volodymyr Zelensky that a February invasion is now “virtually certain” with more than 120,000 Russian troops massed on the border within striking distance.
But Western allies are showing the Kremlin will face a tough fight as forces and equipment is being shipped to Ukraine and surrounding Nato nations as the eyes of the globe watch on.
More to follow…