Two Russian Tu-142 Bear F aircraft were intercepted. These aircraft are used in the roles of Anti-Submarine Warfare and Maritime Patrol. It is essential that their movements are carefully monitored when operating close to UK airspace.
Russian military aircraft operating within the UK Flight Information Region can act as a hazard to other air users, especially in this case as this was busy airspace over the North Sea. Often these aircraft do not squawk, which involves transmitting a code to identify the aircraft’s intentions, position, and altitude, or talk to UK air traffic controllers, causing other civilian airliners in the area to be re-routed to prevent aircraft from flying too close.
To deter this unprofessional activity and mitigate the risks associated with Russian military aircraft flying in this busy international airspace, RAF Typhoons shadowed the two Russian Bears and closely monitored their movements.
Other NATO allies also launched their Quick Reaction Alert assets to assist in monitoring the Russian aircraft. Controllers from RAF Scampton coordinated the mission, liaising with NATO partners at the Combined Air Operations Centre in Uedem, Germany.