The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) scrambled live-armed Typhoon fighter jets to intercept two Russian Tu-160 “Blackjack” supersonic strategic bombers operating near UK and NATO airspace Wednesday morning.
The two Blackjacks were initially detected by NATO air defence radars which led to the scrambling of Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) F-16 Fighting Falcons from Bodø Airbase. The F-16s intercepted and visually identified the Russian aircraft. The two Blackjacks were then shadowed as they continued south.
The RAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Typhoons were then launched from their temporary home at Leuchars Station. The Control and Reporting Centre (CRC) at RAF Scampton routed them directly towards the Tu-160 Blackjacks so that RAF could take over the mission from its Norwegian allies.
The Blackjack bombers then returned north where they were handed back over to Norwegian QRA F-16s, and the two live-armed Typhoons returned to their permanent home of RAF Lossiemouth for the first time in three months. QRA temporarily relocated to Leuchars Station at the end of July while the intersection of the two runways at RAF Lossiemouth was resurfaced.
The Air-to-air refueling support for Typhoons was provided by RAF Voyager (A330 MRTT) tanker aircraft based at RAF Brize Norton.