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'Invisible' Russian bombers intercepted over Irish coast

RUSSIAN bomber planes capable of carrying nuclear weapons flew past the west coast of Ireland on Wednesday - forcing Britain to scramble Typhoon fighter jets in response.

The Russian Tu-95 'Bear' bomber planes travelled from the north, past the west coast of Ireland and to the English Channel before turning and going back the same way.

Britain scrambled its fighter jets in response - as Ireland is considered to be within its 'area of interest' for defence.

The British jets were deployed when long-range radar detected the Russian planes approach.

invisible

An aviation source told the Daily Telegraph that the planes were flying without their transponders on - meaning they were invisible to any commercial aircraft flying into Ireland at the time. It is understood that the British military did not inform the Irish civil aviation authority of the incident.

British Typhoon fighter jets escorted the Russian planes from a distance of about 1,000ft for around half an hour, until they were a safe distance away.

Britain has summoned its Russian ambassador to explain the incident.

An RAF spokesperson said: "Thanks to our integration with air defence systems across NATO, we were able to begin mission planning early and, therefore, were ready to act in good time.

SCRAMBLED

"Once ordered to by the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre in Germany, Typhoon Quick Reaction Alert fighters were scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth to intercept and identify the aircraft.

"Yesterday's mission lasted over 12 hours. We train for these scenarios so that we are well rehearsed and ready to maintain the integrity of our airspace."

A spokesman for Britain's Foreign Office said: "While the Russian planes did not enter sovereign UK airspace and were escorted by RAF Typhoons throughout the time they were in the UK area of interest, the Russian planes caused disruption to civil aviation."

hnews@herald.ie


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