Yesterday, RAF Typhoon FGR.4s scrambled from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire to intercept two Tu-160 “Blackjack” long range strategic bombers operating in the UK’s area-of-interest. It is the sixth time in the last year that the RAF has scrambled aircraft from the UK to intercept Russian aircraft however as of yet UK airspace has not been violated.
Last year talks were held between British and Russian officials aimed at establishing better communication procedures with the Russian aircraft during such excursions. It came as a result of claims by civilian air traffic controllers that the Russian military aircraft were endangering civilian aircraft by not adhering to international flight rules.
Russian aircraft have a long history of probing British and NATO airspace. The primary aim of the flights is to give the bomber crews experience in long range operations and to test how quickly NATO defences respond to their presence.