British Typhoons linked up with French Rafale and Mirage aircraft to intercept a simulated non-NATO military aircraft entering British airspace.
In a news release, found here, the Royal Air Force say that the key objective of the scramble was to exercise and practice NATO Long Range Aviation procedures within the UK and French Flight Information Regions (FIR) and develop the tactical co-ordination involved with international cross-FIR border operations.
Air Vice-Marshal Ian Duguid, Air Officer Commanding Number 11 Group, was quoted as saying:
“This enhanced air security training with France is a demonstration of our close co-operation and interoperability with our NATO partners. This week’s exercise is a timely demonstration of the ever closer, effective partnership between the RAF and French Air Force who, as NATO allies, continue air policing tasks and operations in Mali and in the Levant. Exercising together this week has demonstrated a new level of enhanced air security training.
It is not only about our shared fast jet capability; the role of enablers such as the Voyager air-to-air refuelling plays a vital role supporting the protection of our skies. We look forward to repeating these exercises twice each year in order to train with our close allies and exercise the tactical co-ordination involved with international cross border operations.”
It is understood that the scenario simulated the tracking of aircraft crossing into the UK FIR and the theoretical scramble of the UK’s QRA North based at RAF Lossiemouth, before conducting a fighter-to-fighter handover with aircraft scrambled from RAF Coningsby. French QRA also scrambled to track the aircraft, and a Voyager from RAF Brize Norton supported the exercise with air-to-air refuelling.
You can read more here.