Fighters Scrambled

29 January 2015

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Royal Air Force Typhoon fighters from RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Coningsby were scrambled yesterday after Russian aircraft were identified flying in international airspace close to UK airspace.

Deep under the Northumberland countryside, the RAF Master Controller at the Control and Reporting Centre Boulmer scrambled the Typhoons after long range search radars had detected the two unknown aircraft flying near to UK sovereign airspace in the UK Flight Information Region. Once airborne, the Typhoons were directed by Boulmer’s Aerospace Battle Managers to intercept the unknown aircraft.

Stock Image

One of the Control and Reporting Centre’s Master Controllers said,

“Thanks to our integration with air defence systems across NATO, we were able to begin mission planning early and therefore were ready to act in good time. Once ordered to by the NATO Combined Air Operations Centre in Germany, Typhoon Quick Reaction Alert fighters were scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth to intercept and identify the aircraft. Integration with our colleagues in the Royal Navy provided additional surveillance coverage and added value to the mission.”

Describing the atmosphere in the Control and Reporting Centre during the mission he added,

“Yesterday’s mission lasted for over 12 hours; the operations room was both calm and focussed. We constantly train for these scenarios so that we are well rehearsed and ready to maintain the integrity of our airspace.”

Control and Reporting Centre personnel directed the aircraft into a position to visually identify and escort the Russian aircraft through the UK Flight Information Region. The Russian Tu-95 ‘Bears’ did not cross into UK sovereign airspace but were escorted by the RAF until they were out of the UK Flight Information Region.

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Air to air refuelling for the Typhoons was provided by RAF Voyager aircraft from RAF Brize Norton and radar and communications support was provided by the NATO and the Air Surveillance and Control System. The Master Controller said,

“RAF Aerospace Battle Managers of the Air Surveillance and Control System monitor the UK’s skies 24/7, 365 days a year for unknown aircraft, assessing and reporting potential threats, whether they be, as in this case Russian Long Range Aviation or civilian aircraft that cannot be identified.”

To find out more about the role of the Aerospace Battle Managers see the RAF Recruitment Website.

Editor: Flt Lt Peter Lisney

Images: Stock Imagery

RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2015

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