The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has scrambled its Typhoon fighter aircraft to intercept two Russian Tu-142 “Bear-F” maritime reconnaissance aircraft off the Scottish coast, on Sept. 12.
The Typhoons, assigned to RAF Lossiemouth, were launched from British Army’s Leuchars Station in Fife for the mission. Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) North has been temporarily relocated to Leuchars while the intersection of runways are resurfaced at RAF Lossiemouth.
Typhoon aircraft from @RAFLossiemouth that are currently operating from Leuchars Station, today scrambled and intercepted two Russian aircraft off the Scottish Coast. #WeAreNATO pic.twitter.com/9MeN0fKQah
— Royal Air Force (@RoyalAirForce) September 12, 2020
The scramble was initiated when the Control and Reporting Centre (CRC) at RAF Boulmer was alerted to two tracks heading towards UK airspace. The team of surveillance operators were tracking the two aircraft at all times alongside their NATO counterparts. All of this activity was coordinated through the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) in Uedem, Germany. They are also monitored by the National Air and Space Operations Centre (NASOC) at RAF High Wycombe.
As the two Russian aircraft flew closer to UK airspace, Typhoons, attached to RAF Lossiemouth, were scrambled from Leuchars Station. While operating from Leuchars, the Typhoons are still crewed by Lossiemouth pilots, and maintained by Lossiemouth engineers and technicians.
This intercept was also unusual as the A330-200 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft, known in RAF service as Voyager, which is ordinarily based at RAF Brize Norton, was scrambled from RAF Mildenhall due to planned runway works at Brize Norton.
“QRA is versatile and today’s scramble demonstrates that a Voyager and Typhoons can launch from a number of different locations at very little notice to intercept any potential airborne targets”, said an RAF statement.
Russian military has confirmed the mission saying that the two Tu-142 aircraft conducted missions over Barents, Norwegian and North Seas on Sept. 12.
“On September 12, two long-range antisubmarine aircraft Tu-142 of the Northern Fleet made scheduled flights over the neutral waters of the Barents, Norwegian and North Seas. The flight lasted over 11 hours,” the Russian Northern Fleet said in a statement.
“All the flights took place in strict compliance with international airspace rules,” the press release added.
The Tupolev Tu-142 (NATO reporting name: Bear F/J) is a Soviet/Russian maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft derived from the Tu-95 “Bear” turboprop strategic bomber. Formerly operated by the Soviet Navy, Ukrainian Air Force and the Indian Navy, the Tu-142 currently serves with the Russian Navy.