Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter jets have been launched in response to two Russian aircraft flying in NATO airspace.

Launching from their Romanian Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base at the weekend, the Typhoons responded to a Russian AN-26 and then a Be-12 heading over the Black Sea according to the Ministry of Defence. It’s the third time this week that RAF jets, on NATO’s Air Policing mission, have been scrambled to deter provocative Russian aircraft and reassure Romania and NATO allies.

Flight Lieutenant Ben, a Typhoon pilot on 1 (Fighter) Squadron, attached to 135 Expeditionary Air Wing, was conducting Quick Reaction Alert duty when the scramble was called. He said:

“We launched both QRA aircraft to counter an incursion into the Romanian airspace from the East over the Black Sea by a suspected Russian aircraft. We were able to intercept and identify it as a Russian An-26 CURL and escorted it clear of the Romanian airspace.”

Describing the separate and second incursion by the Be-12, he added:

“The first response was immediately followed by another suspected Russian aircraft over the Black Sea. Both Typhoons escorted it clear of Romanian airspace, the whole event was conducted safely and professionally on both sides.”

Number 1 (Fighter) Squadron, based at RAF Lossiemouth, is deployed to Romania as part of the NATO ‘Enhanced Air Policing’ mission, where assistance is provided to the Romanian Air Force’s own fleet of fast-jet aircraft.

“This is exactly what 1(Fighter) Squadron have been brought to Romania to do in support of 135 EAW and the Enhanced NATO air policing mission and it felt great to have been able to contribute towards the NATO mission to help support the Romanians police their airspace.”


  1. The cost of Typhoon has dropped to £87 Million and we have 48-51 Tranche 1 aircraft in the fleet.
    Replacing these with Tranche three £4.2 Billion less what we sell the Tranche 1 for would be a very worthwhile investment I would have thought?

    I found this article on the power plant for Tempest which some people on here might find interesting also.

    • Nigel Collins, I don’t understand your comment about selling the Tranche 1. We are not selling our T1 aircraft and even if we did they would be virtual give-away prices. What did you mean?

    • Nigel – I’m all for ordering another batch of Typhoon’s too,luckily due to the Qatar and potential additional Saudi orders theres a few years grace as to making a decision.But also I’m in the camp that thinks that an order for the full 138 F35 wont happen,if there is such a commitment that to me would certainly rule out any further Typhoon orders – I just cannot see the possibility of having both.Maybe a compromise will be reached where the F35 order is reduced to maybe 90 to fill the Carriers and maybe 40-50 moer Typhoons will be bought instead.

      • My major concern is, how useful will the F35 be in the next five to ten years after spending Billions of pounds on it when it could be used for further upgrading the Typhoon fleet and investing in Tempest/Magma?

        “1- Low frequency radars:

        This is the simplest solution, and the fastest to implement. Radars that operate in the VHF and UHF bands, with a wavelength between 10 and 80 cm (ie a frequency, between 300 MHz and 1 GHz), benefit from a very sensitive resonance phenomenon on certain parts of the stealth aircraft, like fins and fins. The accuracy of these radars is significantly lower than high frequency radars, which has long led to consider them as unsuited to detection and fire control. However, today, with the AESA radars, the frequency variations in the same radiation, associated with the computer processing capabilities, make it possible to overcome this problem. In any case, this is the argument put forward by the new Grumman E2-D Hawkeye, or its Chinese counterpart, the KJ600, both with an AESA radar in the UHF band. Thanks to modern data links, these devices can not only detect stealth devices and missiles, but direct surface-to-air or air-to-air missiles against these vectors. Russia and China have also begun the deployment of low-frequency radar in their terrestrial detection channels, especially for the Russian S-400.

        2- Passive detection radars

        These radars use electromagnetic radiation linked to human activities, such as the GSM network or TNT, to detect aircraft and missiles, including stealth aircraft, which have not been designed for this type of frequency. This solution is very effective, insofar as the radar emits no radiation, and is therefore perfectly invisible to the radar warning sensors of combat aircraft, which are unaware they have been detected. However, it requires the presence of relatively dense human activities, which prohibits its use in sparsely populated areas, or on the oceans.

        Many countries have research projects on the subject. China has already put on the market a passive radar based on this technology, and it seems that it has deployed a detection satellite also using human radiation to detect aircraft and missiles.

        3- Quantum radars

        Quantum radars are still experimental, and Canada has announced $ 2.7 billion to develop this technology. It is based on the observation of a microwave photon while a second photon, having a quantum entanglement link with the first, and propelled towards the detection zone. If this nomadic photon encounters an obstacle, its trajectory and its state will be modified, causing the same changes on its “control” photon, making it possible to precisely detect, by bombardment, the information of a target. Very promising, this technology will not be available until the end of the next decade, but it will be a decisive blow to stealth technologies currently known.

        4- electro-optical detection

        Current radars, whether high or low frequency, all have the same weakness: it is possible to detect a radar that emits at a distance much greater than its detection range. This is why, very often, warships and fighter jets do not actively use their radars, and are content to try to detect the radiation of a potential adversary who might reveal his position. In this context, the identification of a target is often based on a visual confirmation. This is where devices such as the Rafale’s OSF (Frontal Sector Optronics) are an important asset, as they are able to identify an aircraft or a ship several tens of kilometers away, with powerful multi-optical electro-optical cameras. spectra. However, this technology has its own limitations, requiring, for example, low cloudiness to be effective. But a combat device with a powerful electro-optical system, such as the F35, will undoubtedly be at a disadvantage in mid-range against an opponent who would be equipped, such as the Su-35.

        One can see, stealth is far from being a cloak of invisibility making an invulnerable device. On the contrary, this technology is expected to quickly lose its operational interest. It is therefore a very relative argument when it comes to choosing a device that will operate for several decades in an air force”.

    • A number of (if not all) the Eurofighter partner nations have attempted to sell on their Tranche 1 Typhoon and have found no takers even at give away prices!

      Those nations that are interested in buying second hand jets are far more interested in the F-16 over the Typhoon. It is cheaper to operate and with its huge international fleet there are plenty of spares to be had and upgrade options. Frankly it is a no brainer vs Tranch 1 Typhoon.

      If anything it is easier to upgrade an early Block F-16 vs the Tranche 1 Typhoon with more than one AESA radar option and multiple weapons choices.

  2. I would try to sell the tranche 1 aircraft to the US as aggressor aircraft. Thus releasing the f16 they use currently for frontline service.

    • If we are talking about selling Tranche 1 Typhoon to the US DOD for aggressor work the answer is ‘not a chance’! They on;y operate types in their own inventory inventory for the aggressor role except in very unique circumstances like captured Soviet types for evaluation during the Cold War.

      If we are talking about private companies like Draken International then the answer is highly unlikely. The Typhoon is just too expensive and complex to make it cost effective to operate in the role. They have just purchased a large number of Mirage F-1 which are far better suited to their needs being less complex and cheaper to run as a single engine type with a fairly simple Turbojet. They have also bought up a large proportion of the French spares inventory for the type plus surplus airframes to part out meaning they can operate for years to come at a marginal cost.

    • Steve – hard to tell due to shadows but looks to me the AMRAAMS are there,but certainly looks like ASRAAM’s on the outermost weapons stations.

  3. Why not gift the T1s to the Baltic states? joint train with them over here on Air strip 1 then send them back to police their own airspace?


    • BV-even as a gift the running costs and maintenance regime would put the Typhoon way out of reach for any of the Baltic states I would have thought,even something more modest like a Hawk or Gripen would be a massive challenge.

        • I would not help the Germans one damn bit. They are hardly being supportive of the UK or wanting to do the decent thing and cone to a free trade deal with the UK post BREXIT.
          Instead we should deploy some small numbers of RAF aircraft that are fully working to Germany but then bill them through the roof for the costs.
          The mess the German armed forces are in is their own making. They prefer to control Europe through economic means and rely on us, the USA, Canadians and their pet dogs the French to defend them.
          Not exactly the behaviours of trustworthy allies.

          • I agree that the Germans problems with their armed forces are of their own making but what you are saying about Brexit is nonsense Mr.Bell.

            The UK is leaving the EU not the EU leaving the UK! The EU is a rules based organisation, the rules relating to Article 50 are clear!

            It is not in the EU’s interest to undermine the Single Market and the integrity of the Union just to give one country that is leaving an unfair advantage via a Free Trade Deal.

  4. The RAF is to RTP(dismantling) 16 T1’s Typhoons (twin seat trainers), for spare parts to keep the other 30 tranche 1’s running until about 2030. There is no plan iñ budget to buy more Typhoons. The MoD needs the money to develope the Tempest and need to buy more F-35B’s for the air carriers.
    Sorry to disappoint you.

    • Meirion- sad news but if the T1’s need spares donors then it makes sense.I wonder if the condition and Airframe hours of the Trainers would have allowed them to form 1 Squadron of pure ‘bombtruck’ Typhoon’s,no expensive updates or modifications just a means to carry and deploy Paveways etc in lieu of the retirement of the Tornado’s.As interesting as the Tempest sounds I hope there is enough funds left to eek out some more Typhoon orders – obviously not likely but the fact is the RAF/FAA combat jet fleet will be sub 200 for a long while yet I think.

  5. I believe Gripen is being marketed to the UK for the aggressor role, and they already operate them for fast jet training. But if the UK the was considering making a purchase I think it would make sense just to use the Tranche 1’s if it meant ordering additional Tranche 3’s. I think it would be better value than re-wiring the Tranche 1’s to accept the updated radars etc.
    I know production started on the Kuwait Typhoons back in December, does anyone know if any have been delivered yet? From what I’ve read it was the first production variant to be ordered with the AESA Radar so I am curious if all aircraft produced from now will only come with this Radar. I was really disappointed that the Tranche 3A’s did not come fitted with this as standard, so much faffing about with funding from the partner nations (probably because they did not get enough of the work share on the upgrades).

    • Who operate Gripen for FJT BB?

      Not the RAF. The ETPS at Boscombe operate 2 for Test Pilot Training I assume this is what you mean?

      Agree just use older Typhoon in a single fleet if we can get more Tranche 3.

      Personally I think all this talk of additional Typhoons is pie in the sky and the RAF will have to make do with what it has with MDP around the corner but we can all wish and speculate!

      • Your right Daniele, that’s what I was referring to.

        I think any further Typhoon order will be determined more by politics than anything else.
        If the Saudi’s place a follow on order and keep the production line running a few more years it will take pressure off the government to place an order to safe guard jobs and keep the production line running.

        I thought things would have progressed more on Taranis by now which would have allowed BAE to switch production at Warton to producing Taranis air frames as a future Tornado replacement but we still seem to be 10 years off that.
        BAE seems to be going down an ultra complex route with this fixed wing design, I’m not sure how much it reduces the radar signature by, but something slightly less advanced in greater numbers might have been a safer option especially if we could deliver it much sooner.

        • I think it is the usual timidity and lack of confidence.
          We have the design.
          We have the know how.
          We have the skills and capability.
          We then stonewall, delay, then rather than producing and selling it ourselves jump into bed with France or another, sharing the tech which they then make a profit on!!

          What EVER changes?

          When will HMG ever commit to British tech?

          Anyone more knowledgeable here please correct me but this is how it seems to me.

  6. Hi Nigel, Yes and no.

    1. The low band radar resonance phenomenon has been known since the sixties. It is basically a electromagnetic conductive material which has a physical length less than a 1/4 wavelength of the transmitting radars carrier wave. This can be countered as per the B2 method by using density changes in the material spec of the wing tips etc. This could also be countered on the F35 in a similar manner by either changing the material or fitting lengthened pods to the wing tips a bit like the Typhoons ESM/ECCM pods, thus making the length over the 1/4 wave threshold.

    You also missed out ultra wide band radar. This makes it very difficult to detect to width frequencies that are used. The majority of wide band trial radars have been in the lowish E/H (L) band 1 to 4 Ghz. However, there is nothing stopping these radars using higher frequencies. The development of these radars was to limit the ability of radar warning receivers to detect them as the carrier wave can been spread much wider and use low probability of intercept methods to camouflage its transmissions.

    2. The passive detection radar has also been known about as the 3 and 4 phone transmissions are 800, 900, 1800, 2100 and 2600 MHz. The new 5G in Europe is 3.4 to 3.8 Ghz and 26 Ghz. These frequencies are all used by radar systems in particular the 2 to 4 Ghz range which these phone frequencies overlap. The Radar Warning systems will be able to detect these even though the radio (phone) handsets only transmit in the milliwatts. The problem for a radar to use multinode detection is not only the number of nodes that need to be processed but all the average transmitting power to detect say a small stealthy high flying target. This system will be incredibly easy to jam.

    3. Quantum radars are not my field, but the research so far looks promising. If the quantum entanglement can be replicated that shows a transmitting photon when hitting a target its entangled photon is also altered. I’m sure by the time this type of radar is produced a counter will be discovered as with most advances in technology.

    4. A modern radar such as the Captor-E which is going to be fitted to Typhoon is a modern frequency agile active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. As such it uses low probability of intercept waveform and transmission techniques to make it more difficult to detect. Modern radar detection devices look for repetitive frequency patterns. Captor-E does multiple frequency hopping of it baseline carrier wave. It can also digitise the waveform so that it appears like a MP3 or a 4G transmission that makes it harder for jammers to repeat correctly.

    The use of the F35 in a interceptor role cannot be likened to a Typhoon. Yes it can hold its own but it is primarily a ground attack aircraft first. Therefore it will probably replicate the tactics that Tornado F3s employed i.e. a stand-off missile platform. If the aircraft are operating as a pair, only one aircraft will be using its radar for transmitting. But as the other aircraft is networked, it can can see what the other sees. Further if multiple threats are discovered the aircraft can control each others missiles. This networking has also be trialled using a Typhoon. The F35 was the search and track aircraft whilst the Typhoon was the stand-off platform launching in this case AMRAAMs. This is because the F35’s stealth and LPI radar make it very difficult to detect which gives it a distant advantage in any BVR engagement. To be honest the angularity and open engine intakes of the Su30 series make it very easy to detect by radar, so it “shouldn’t” get close enough for a dog-fighting scenario.

    • Thank you for your comment Davy B,

      As I said my only concern is what advantage will the F35 offer us in five to 10yrs time given the speed that technology advances at. It is well documented that the F35 will not be declared fully operational until at least 2025.

      Potential peer enemies may have advanced their capabilities to detect the F35 by then if not already?

      Typhoon on the other hand gives us the advantage of not only being a very capable air superiority fighter, but also has the means to deliver a variety (day or night) long range air to ground weapons especially when you consider the added available space created by adding conformal fuel tanks.

      We will lose 40 Tornado aircraft this year with nothing to replace them but we could add more tranche 3 Typhoons far sooner than the F35 a proven and worthy adversary that can launch from a distance.

      Stealth only allows you to get closer to your intended target prior to launch and the F35B has a far shorter range than Typhoon and carries a smaller weapons payload.

      Magma and Tempest are what we should be investing in long term and filling the gap with more Tranche 3A Typhoons short to mid.

    • Absolutely Davey.

      The much laundered Flanker, even in its Su35 guise, has a significant radar signature, plus its various electronic signals emitted ( both intentionally and otherwise) make the Flanker somewhat of a target …. Thrust vectoring … Makes it a large static target in my opinion.

      If it’s up against Captor E Typhoon or F35, the first time a Flanker driver will realise he has a problem is when a mach 3 Meteor is already in its terminal phase and he has a few seconds left to react.

      His chances of escape are vertually zero.

  7. Uk is deep in debts….don t see any “investements” in toys soon….food is coming more expensive, health, insurance…air force is grounded…no money just those 4 birds in east eu playing games to divert attention from more important things…as it was said Ty is not fully integrated with all capabilities and Mid East is in crisis for last 2 years…no money for new toys.

  8. Is it a good idea for NATO to be prodding the very large Bear with a stick, in his own backyard?
    NATO seems intent on provoking a fight.

    • With what we have to offer currently and the state of play in Europe excluding the USA of course, NO!

      Which is what concerns me given the financial pressure Russia is currently under and the fact that we will be leaving the EU very soon. It’s reason I’ve been advocating on here for so many months now about holding onto every penny we have and not handing it out!

      By dramatically increasing our spending on defence European countries would be extremely foolish not to work out a senseable trade deal with us.

      If the bear comes looking it is they who could very well see the first footprints!

  9. There’s still much that can be done with Typhoon development wise. It will be interesting to see if the Airforce are allowed (have the funding) to go down the route post CAPTOR-E and they won’t be constrained by the other partner nations. The upgrade to the engines and the addition of conformal fuel tanks seems a given. The LERX has been mentioned by BAE with perhaps 3D engine exhausts which Rolls Royce/Eurojet have demonstrated would be an easy win. I think the Airforce will look at what the F35 brings to the party, especially with its data networking. The 360 degree cockpit view and enhanced helmet display will I’m sure be included.
    I think the early retirement of the two seaters was premature as these would have been very useful for controlling UAVs such as Taranis and thus removing the workload on the pilot. I do believe we will see an increase in the weapon load, especially in the number of AAM carried. The aircraft can only get better.

    • More of this to come in P4E

      The UK has driven the integration timetable for air-to-ground weapons on the Typhoon, because the RAF is retiring its Tornado strike jet fleet in 2019. The other Eurofighter partners are retaining Tornados (Germany, Italy) or F-18s (Spain) for this role. The RAF will only have one squadron of F-35s by 2019, and they will not be carrying Brimstones, Meteors or Storm Shadows.

      A further enhancement package designated P4E is now being crafted. Depending on what the partner nations can be persuaded to approve, it could include additional weapons; enhancements to the avionics and Defensive Aids Sub System (DASS); passive geolocation; a low-band extension; and aerodynamic enhancements.

      “Meanwhile, an improved version of the Typhoon pilots’ helmet-mounted display is available, although no funding for its production has been approved. The BAE Systems Striker II has integrated night vision projection, thus dispensing with the need for separate night-vision goggles. It also offers high-resolution color in the display, and a daytime recording capability. BAE claims that this fully digital helmet is more advanced than the one that comes with the F-35”


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