RAF Typhoon jets intercept Russian bombers in urgent 'defence of UK air space'

RAF Typhoon intercepts Russian TU-142

RAF Typhoon intercepts Russian TU-142

Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 14/08/2023

- 15:35

Updated: 14/08/2023

- 16:40

The RAF celebrated the intercept as demonstrating its ability to maintain the 'integrity of UK and NATO airspace'

RAF Typhoon jets have intercepted two Russian bombers flying north of Scotland, the Ministry of Defence has revealed.

The jets were launched from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland to take on the pair of Russian long-range maritime patrol bombers near the Shetland Islands.

The Russian Tu-142 Bear-F and Tu-142 Bear-J maritime patrol aircraft were travelling within NATO’s northern air policing area.

The aircrafts are used by the Kremlin for reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare.

An RAF Voyager from No. 903 Expeditionary Air Wing takes off from RAF Akrotiri

An RAF Voyager from No. 903 Expeditionary Air Wing takes off from RAF Akrotiri


A British Voyager tanker was also sent out to provide air refueling capability for the Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighters.

Typhoon RAF pilots have completed other intercepts in recent months while the UK stationed members of the military in Estonia.

The air force completed more than 50 air intercepts during the four-month deployment on NATO's eastern flank.

Responding to the interception near the Shetland Islands, the lead RAF Typhoon pilot said: "It’s really satisfying to know we’ve been able to make a successful intercept, maintaining the integrity of UK and NATO airspace.

A general view of RAF Lossiemouth

A general view of RAF Lossiemouth


"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."

Armed Forces Minister James Heappey added: “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.

“Pilots launched in their Typhoon jets to intercept two Russian long-range bombers this morning, monitoring them as they passed north of the Shetland Islands, ready to counter any potential threat to UK territory.”

Minister of State for the Armed Forces James Stephen Heappey

Minister of State for the Armed Forces James Stephen Heappey


The Ministry of Defence also revealed the Typhoon jets and Voyager have now returned to their base and the aircraft have been refueled to remain ready to respond to any future potential threats.

Belligerent aircraft entering the UK's controlled zone of international airspace can pose a threat to other aircraft.

Russian aircraft often do not talk to air traffic control or "squawk".

Typhoon jets are based at both RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire and RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.

The RAF also has a Typhoon detachment in the Falklands and deploys the jets during operations in the Middle East for Operation Shader.

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