Fighters scrambled to intercept Russian bombers
British RAF Typhoon jets were launched yesterday, after Russian military planes were identified flying close to UK airspace, the British Ministry of Defence has said.
The two quick-reaction Typhoons were scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth in north Scotland as Russian 'Bear' bombers flew in international airspace towards north-east Scotland.
A RAF spokesman said: "RAF quick-reaction alert Typhoon fighter aircraft were launched today from RAF Lossiemouth after Russian aircraft were identified flying close to UK airspace. The Russian planes are being escorted by the RAF in the UK area of interest."
The Russian aircraft arrived as dozens of Nato warships gather off the coast of Scotland for Exercise Joint Warrior, two weeks of UK-led naval war games.
A Royal Navy frigate is also accompanying a Russian destroyer and its two support ships through the English Channel.
An RAF source said the launch was "business as usual", but speculated the arrival of the long-range bombers may be linked to the regular Joint Warrior manoeuvres.
The source said: "They often send some long-range aviation at the time of Joint Warrior and they haven't been here for a couple of months, so it's good to have them back."
Earlier in the day a Russian destroyer and two support ships were being escorted through the English Channel by the navy.
The Udaloy class destroyer Severomorsk, a tanker and a tug were heading east through the waterway before sailing into the north Atlantic to conduct anti-aircraft and anti-submarine drills.
The Russian warship will pass Scotland as 55 warships and 70 aircraft from 14 nations take part in Exercise Joint Warrior, a fortnight-long naval war games in the area.
HMS Argyll, a Type 23 frigate, will escort the Severomorsk through the North Sea until she sails beyond Scotland, British Navy sources said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)