Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter jets deployed to Lithuania have intercepted Russian aircraft off the Baltic coast for the second time this week.
The Typhoons launched on the afternoon of 4th Jun 2020 to intercept a Russian Il-20 COOT A and two Russian Su-27 Flanker B aircraft operating over the Baltic Sea. This was the detachment’s second launch in support of Baltic Air Policing within a 48hr window.
A Typhoon pilot from 6 Squadron, attached to 135 Expeditionary Air Wing, was conducting Quick Reaction Alert duty when the scramble was called.
He said: “This mission was more complex, as there were more aircraft to manage of different types and flying at different speeds. We are always ready to react in support of the NATO mission.”
The Typhoon aircraft were able to approach the Russian formation and identify it as an ISR aircraft escorted by two fighters.
The Minister for Armed Forces, James Heappey MP said:
“The UK’s commitment to NATO is as strong as ever. Our Typhoon Force is playing a key part in support of the alliance’s air policing operations and our friends in Lithuania.”
This intercept is part of the routine NATO Air Policing mission that has been conducted to police the skies since 2004.
Air Vice Marshal Ian Duguid, The Air Officer Commanding 11 Group said:
“Today saw the second RAF intercept of Russian aircraft over the Baltic. This remains routine activity, however it must be stressed that the RAF as part of NATO are conducting these activities to ensure that all flights are conducted within internationally accepted aviation rules. When this does not happen NATO will intercept and investigate.”
He also added “I congratulate all of our deployed personnel in Lithuania for the professional way that they are conducting the mission in conjunction with our Lithuanian and Spanish Allies, they bring great credit to the service.”
The RAF contribution to NATO deployments supports efforts to reassure our Allies and demonstrates the UK’s wider commitment to the security of the region.