Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter jets deployed to Lithuania on a NATO policing mission have carried out their first intercept of the deployment.

The Typhoons launched on 2nd June 2020 to intercept a Russian IL-20 COOT Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft operating over the Baltic Sea, say the Royal Air Force.

“This intercept is part of the routine NATO Air Policing mission that has been conducted to police the skies since 2004. The current RAF mission began on the 1 May when 135 EAW took over the enhanced Air Policing role working alongside the Spanish Air Force detachment at Siauliau Air Base. 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.”

A Typhoon pilot from 6 Squadron, attached to 135 Expeditionary Air Wing, was on Quick Reaction Alert duty when the scramble was called and was quoted by the RAF as saying:

“The scramble was called to intercept a Russian IL-20 COOT ISR aircraft. The initial scramble was a real shot of adrenaline, but once airborne it was important to remain calm and professional and make the intercept as expeditious as possible to ensure we maintained both the safety and integrity of NATO airspace. This is what all of our training is designed to prepare us for however, at the end of the day it’s just my job.”

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Peter Crisp
Peter Crisp
1 year ago

What exactly could the Russian aircraft do if they were told to stray into controlled airspace? They don’t seem to have any weapons and the Typhoon could easily down it in seconds with guns if needed. Surely it would be a suicide mission for the Russian crew so yeah, they may get close but they aren’t insane are they?

1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp

They just come close enough to get a reaction then they can see how good or bad nato response and reaction is. I dread to think what the RAF numbers would be like if Russia was an allie! They aren’t good now but they would be far worse.