News articles

Skip to content

RAF and German Air Force team up to intercept Russian fighters and intelligence aircraft over the Baltic Sea

Typhoon fighter jets from the Royal Air Force and German Air Force have conducted a joint mission to intercept three Russian aircraft flying over the Gulf of Finland and Baltic Sea.

Eurofighter Typhoons from the RAF’s IX (B) Squadron and the German Air Force’s 71 ‘Richtofen’ Wing were scrambled to intercept and visually identify several unidentified aircraft flying close to NATO airspace. The two forces are currently working side-by-side as part of Operation Azotize to protect the eastern flank of NATO’s border.

Image shows RAF Typhoon in flight.

One of the aircraft was identified to be a Russian Air Force IL-20 Coot-A intelligence aircraft transiting from mainland Russia to the Kaliningrad enclave. It was met by two Russian SU-27 Flanker-B fighter jets based in Kaliningrad which escorted the Coot-A south through the north-west area of the Estonian flight information region.

We often see Russian military aircraft flying over the Baltic Sea and so this was a routine intercept for us. Nevertheless, the importance of intercepting these aircraft and our commitment to the collective defence of NATO airspace remains steadfast and resolute.

What this intercept has proven is that together with our German allies, we are able to act with speed and decisiveness to effectively ensure the Alliance’s security.

RAF Pilot, IX (B) Squadron

Image shows RAF Typhoon in flight alongside German Air Force fighter jet.

The Coot-A is a signals intelligence variant of the IL-20 aircraft and was flying in a safe and professional manner. The RAF and German Typhoons escorted the Coot-A and Flanker-Bs through the Estonian flight information region before handing over to Saab Gripen fighters of the Swedish Air Force.

This was another demonstration of our readiness and commitment to react at speed to conduct a live intercept. These combined RAF and German Air Force intercepts continue to enhance NATO cohesion, ensuring seamless cooperation and understanding during these missions.

Our allies and partners in the region should remain assured that NATO is here to stay, and the UK continues its commitment to collective defence of NATO Airspace.

Wing Commander Maccoll
Commanding Officer of 140 Expeditionary Air Wing

The Royal Air Force and German Air Force are operating Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets out of Amari Air Base in Estonia as a combined force and this is the fifth joint intercept that the nations have conducted. Together, they are fulfilling NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission – Operation Azotize – and have been doing so as a combined force since the start of March.

Read more about RAF Operations