Royal Air Force and Armée de l’Air have worked together on a joint Quick Reaction Alert exercise.
The RAF say that Exercise Sheihan River is designed to test the resilience of UK and French air defence. In the counter-terrorist scenario a renegade aircraft was first intercepted in French controlled airspace by Mirage 2000C fighter jets.
As the aircraft converged on UK controlled airspace the bi-lateral agreement with the France was invoked and close cooperation between the Control Reporting Centres of both nations ensured a seamless transition between the AdlA and RAF Typhoon fighter pilots, say the RAF.
“Whilst the exercise is routine, this was the first occasion an intercepting French aircraft had refuelled from a RAF Voyager air-air refuelling tanker.
Interoperability with key allies is vital for our operations and this exercise is the latest example of the close cooperation which exists between both Air Forces. Each remains heavily engaged the fight against violent extremist organisations and continue to operate alongside each other on operations in the Middle East and Mali.”
An RAF spokesman said:
“RAF Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon aircraft monitor aircraft as they approach the UK area of interest.”
The UK’s Quick Reaction Alert team, which are ready to take off within minutes at any time, have also been sent up in recent months to intercept Russian bombers probing British airspace.