Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon jets launched from Leuchars Station to intercept two Russian Bear F aircraft off the Scottish coast, say the Ministry of Defence.

The Russian aircraft were identified as a TU-142 Bear F maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft.

The MoD say that this scramble was caused by the Russian aircraft entering the UK Flight Information Region, the UK’s controlled zone of international airspace. Monitoring this zone ensures the safe passage for all other aircraft, including civilian transatlantic airliners that are under UK civilian air traffic control.

One of the pilots flying said:

“It’s been another successful team effort from all concerned. Personnel from RAF Brize Norton, Swanwick and Boulmer all contributing to our mission. This is a very evocative moment to scramble as it is nearly 80 years on from the 15 September, Battle of Britain Day, the day that now marks the end of the critical phase of the battle in 1940. Air defence now is as critical as it was then.”

The Typhoons were supported by a Voyager tanker operating from RAF Mildenhall as the runway at Brize Norton is also currently having essential maintenance work being carried out.

For more on why the RAF intercept aircraft, you can read this piece.

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Daniele Mandelli

From photos it seems our QRA aircraft stand off the subject more than Russian and Chinese intercepts of our aircraft, which come much closer. I guess this is why they are reported as being dangerous?

Is it the BBC Bear I wonder!


Lucky we didn’t close RAF Mildenhall, or rather the Americans close it. I’m Glad it has a future, well untill 2027 anyway.

Gary Stedman

Mildenhall now has a reprieve from the USAF indefinitely. As a local I can say it never seemed likely it would close, the serving USAF personnel especially had few doubts it would stay open. Also RAF Voyagers have been deployed to Mildenhall for weekend QRA duties many times in the last couple of years due to ongoing work at Brize Norton.

Daniele Mandelli

There is always Fairford. But I’m glad Mildenhall remains.


Why is this reported so often when it is a routine affair? The Soviets & Russians have done this for decades & in the cold war we didn’t just fly close to the border of international airspace, but flew right over Soviet airspace.


I heard on the radio this was exceptional because they entered UK airspace. I don’t know whether that report was accurate


Why don’t we have an base on the Shetland Islands? Surely that’s the perfect place to refuel and rearm for this kind of thing? There is 750 miles between Brize Norton and Shetland.

Robert Blay

The tankers could land and refuel at Lossie, but they have huge endurance, so it’s never required.


Ok, how about for F-35B’s?

If we are fighting in the North we should have a few small forward bases where they can land, refuel, re-arm with Meteors and get back in the fight ASAP, especially if we lose a carrier in combat.

Battle of Britain 2 is likely to be against Russia after all.

Robert Blay

F35’s aren’t being used for QRA. And if we did, Lossie is a QRA base with all the infrastructure required. Plus, I wouldn’t loose any sleep over the Russians.

Daniele Mandelli

Lol. We have a base. It’s called Saxa Vord. A Remote Radar Head. It was reactivated a few years ago.

There was a base like you describe. RAF Stornoway. It had HAS too I recall. Used fir dispersal of the Fighter force in war. It was on the islands west of Scotland,
not the Shetlands.


Morning Daniele. When I was a small boy spending my annual stint in Northern Ireland with grandparents I remember one of the kids in Jordanstown whose dad was in the RAF stationed in Tiree in the Western Isles. This was in the 1950’s although I think this was a WW2 station so maybe the RAF had some residual business there in the 1950’s? Have a sense of deja vu about this conversation(much like the Durban Bay story) 🙂 Cheers


ps I suppose the point of this little story is that much history is lost as the people of older generations die off and noone records stuff. I did an article on the origins of the Black and white colours of the Natal Rugby team and history of the Black Wildebeest as their symbol. Came up with 6 possibilities including an intriguing Hansard reference from the Natal Parliament in the 1870’s which recorded that a mention of this Gnu in the House elicited much laughter from the assembly. That was all- amystery unsolved!(might have told you this story too) Cheers… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Morning geoff. Scorcher developing here in Surrey. I do not recall that one, but keep them coming. I for one will always appreciate them.

Keep safe my friend.


Thanks Daniele-you too!

Alan Reid

Hi Daniele, In 1989 I was staying in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis – and there was a temporary detachment of six Tornado ADVs at the airfield. I remember the excitement in the town when the Tornado flight staged a full flypast to mark the end of its deployment.
Stornoway seemed to be a useful base for a CAP over the North Atlantic, and I do remember seeing a HAS complex – but looking on Google, it now sadly appears to be long gone.

Daniele Mandelli

Hi Alan.

I too looked on Google for the HAS having recalled them from my youth in the 80s.

Agree that was the sites role, would have been hard to have kept Spetsnatz away mind in that location.

Isle of Lewis…thank you! My geography of the varied western isles of Scotland is poor.

Alan Reid

Hi Daniele, And I think the threat from hostile raiders, special forces etc, means the HAS still has a role to play ………. despite its vulnerability to air-dropped LGBs in some scenarios. Certainly in Scotland, the few RAF airfields we still have are on the vulnerable coast-line …………

Daniele Mandelli

I agree Alan.

And more than just the sole HAS. As you no doubt know, a whole HAS site was self contained from the rest of the station, surrounded by wire and fences, and guarded. It could continue to operate in isolation. Even if the outer station perimeter is compromised the HAS site remains. I recall our pilots were delivered to the aircraft in their HAS by Saracen armoured vehicles.

These multi billion squadrons of assets lined up on flight lines worries me.

Robert Blay

Didn’t RAF Benbecula used to be able to operate fast jets back in the day?

Daniele Mandelli

Don’t know mate.

Alan Reid

HI Robert; RAF Coastal Command, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses were operated from Benbecula during WW2 – but I can’t ever recall hearing about fast-jets at that site ……………..


Am I right in saying the turboprop bear is the loudest aircraft in the world? If so that’s pretty poor for a maritime patrol aircraft (I know originally a bomber). Surely a submarine would be able to detect it’s acoustic signature on sonar?

Ivan is just getting his own back for our patrol up in the Barents Sea.

Stephen Youngs

The story above about the typhoons being scrambled from leuchars… They are based at lossiemouth not leuchars