The Russian aircraft that was intercepted was a Tu-142 Maritime Patrol aircraft, known by the NATO code name as a Bear-F. The Tu-142 approached from the North-East and flew in international airspace over the Norwegian Sea and North Atlantic Ocean. At no point did the Russian aircraft enter UK sovereign airspace and Norwegian F-35A fighter aircraft were also launched as part of NATO’s response to the Russian aircraft to monitor the Russian aircraft.
“Today’s scramble demonstrated the close working relationships we have with our NATO colleagues. After scrambling to intercept the Russian aircraft, we were in close contact with RAF Battlespace Managers, who directed us towards the aircraft and relayed orders throughout, ensuring we could confirm where they were and what they were doing at all times.”
RAF Typhoon pilot
Additional air to air refuelling support was provided by a RAF Voyager aircraft from RAF Brize Norton, alongside command and control from the National Air and Space Operations Centre at RAF High Wycombe and the Air Surveillance and Control System at RAF Boulmer.
Quick Reaction Alert Typhoons are launched to intercept unidentified aircraft flying in the UK’s area of interest. QRA procedures entail RAF aircraft and crews being held at continuous high readiness 24/7, so that they can take off within minutes to protect UK sovereign airspace, should it be required.