Typhoon jets sortied from RAF Lossiemouth to monitor two Russian bombers approaching UK airspace.

The Russian Blackjack long-range bombers were not talking to air traffic control, making them a hazard to all other aviation, say the Ministry of Defence.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“Once again the rapid reactions of our RAF have demonstrated how vital our Armed Forces are in protecting Britain.”

According to a release received in the last hour, the RAF worked closely with NATO partners to monitor the jets as they passed through a variety of international airspace before they were intercepted by the RAF over the North Sea.

The Ministry of Defence said in  a statement:

“Subsequently our fighters escorted the Russian Blackjacks north, out of the UK’s area of interest. At no time did the Russian bombers enter UK sovereign airspace.

RAF QRA was launched today because the Russian Military aircraft were not talking to air traffic agencies. The RAF routinely intercept, identify and escort Russian aircraft that transit international airspace within the UK’s area of interest and continue to be on call; 24/7, 365.”

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If they do enter our airspace, shoot them down.

It’s the only thing the Russians understand.

Peter Crisp

That would be a vast over reaction and a pointless escalation that could most likely mean needless loss of life. By all means escort them out and threaten that incursion into UK airspace will mean stronger measures will be used but to just shoot them down is madness.


My comment was slightly tongue in cheek. Quite a bit in fact.

As noted lower in thread it is all one big piece of game play. Who can outplay the other.

I would be intereted to know how often we go upto their airspace and how often we actually cross the line into it, and vice versa how ofte they do the same to us. If we are doing it less, we need to up our game.

Still, if all else fails – shoot them down!

Show 'em who's boss

This is likely testing defenses and the pilots’ mettle as well as demonstrating both sides’ need for air force funding. On the other hand, bombers approaching sovereign airspace shouldn’t just get away with it. Halfway between shooting them down (which would be a meaningFUL waste of human life) and escorting them out would be forcing them on a delaying pattern until they had too little fuel to return home without mid air refueling, thus causing the pilots undue stress and wasting Russian resources. Making it too expensive to continue this sort of behavior would have the net effect of ending… Read more »

[…] Or actually a pair of Blackjacks.  Looks like Putin is flexing his muscles again.  I saw a few days ago that B-52 were doing the reverse route penetration practices, so this may just be a reaction. […]


what about speaking Russian to them? Maybe they want to escape the tinpot regime, and give us a strategic bomber fleet you always dreamt of.


Well NATO is also doing the same thing to their airspace, just thought Id point that out. And no I am not a russian troll.

Daniele Mandelli


It’s all a game.


(Chris H) Russian or not that is a beautiful aircraft. Just shows how they used TU-144 technology to create a supersonic bomber. And added swing wing for fun …

Shame they didn’t pursue the Concorde bomber that was on the drawing boards. Double shame we never kept a Concorde flying which they could have done.


Yep they copied the B1 in an admirable fashion…

But yes. I agree it is a pretty aircraft.

Albert Starburst

Sorry to harp-on about this (re previous topics/posts about a “UK/Commonwealth” strategic bomber), but I still think we could relatively quickly/affordably bash together something updated but based around Concorde’s fantastic engines and especially the air-intake design that gave a long-range “super-cruise” (i.e. without re-heat) at Mach 2 capability.

Daniele Mandelli

Affordably?? With our track record of delays and costs?

I don’t think so. Just buy some B1 in a small squadron and be done with it.

Nigel Collins

A four-engined version of Tempest would be worth considering long term, but I agree with the comments made by Daniele Mandelli short term, “Just buy some B1 in a small squadron and be done with it.” A squadron of the latest EA-18G Growlers wouldn’t go amiss either.

Anthony D

Why buy B1s when we have cruise? More cost effective and no risk to pilots or airframes.

Nigel Collins

China is a long way off Anthony D, approximately 4,834 Miles!

Anthony D

Nigel. I think astute could get a bit closer…


Exactly just a game letting them know they are there, testing response times and possibly signals/radar. The USAF and to a lesser extent NATO do this routinely to Russia and China. No doubt the same is happening under the oceans.

Artyom Mikoyan

I hate Russian Dolls; they’re just so full of themselves…


We do the same to Russia. Always have & always will. We even overflew the USSR regularly throughout the cold war. It’s purely press distraction to label every passage of Russian aircraft or warship through international waters close to us as aggression. It keeps our QRF on ther toes.

Daniele Mandelli

Sense at last Frank.

Too many on UKDJ follow the hysterics of the press and ignore the hypocrisy that the West do the same!
In the Cold War SAC flew over the USSR, not just on its periphery.

Imagine the reaction if s Russian aircraft did that..


(Chris H) Daniele – I agree with you and Frank that its all ‘in the game’ and I have no concerns as some very capable people are doing it (at least on the RAF side). Its well known air crews wave and photograph each other. Professional people just doing their job However I would clarify your use of the term ‘SAC’ as that covers a huge range of aircraft, commands and operations. I believe the only part of SAC to overfly Russia were RB-47s and RB-45s in the early 1950s. In fact more RB-45s, loaned to the RAF and painted… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Morning Chris. Indeed it does, though I have read about those RAF flights and was just making a generalisation without detail. By SAC those RB47 flights over Siberia where foremost in my mind, and indirectly also the CIA U2 flights, of which Gary Powers was most famous, which came later. In my mind I also include the constant periphery flights of an aircraft we now have ourselves, the Rivet Joint, which has been sniffing around the periphery of the USSR and now Russia for decades, especially off the Kola Peninsula, the Baltic, the Bering Straight, and off the Kamachatka Peninsula… Read more »


(Chris H) Daniele – I fear you are drawing me off topic and into Brexit topics. But I can’t resist! If any one event shows the impossibility of doing business with EU political ideologues in Brussels then Salzburg was it. What people forget in the media feeding frenzy of ‘how long will she last’ is that we are STILL, 18 months in, discussing the Withdrawal Treaty. The EU refuse to even discuss our future relationship. Which totally contravenes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and I quote: ” the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting… Read more »

Anthony D

Danielle you need to see it from the EU perspective. It cannot cut the uk a good deal as it undermines the rules the others have to play by. It would unravel if member states thought they could not abide by the bits they didn’t like or could blackmail one another with threats if leaving. Yes brexit will hurt the EU, that’s why they don’t want it, but not as much as it will hurt the UK. The destruction and shame of the world wars cast a long shadow in Europe. Continentals can’t bear any risk to the breaking the… Read more »


Perceptions count, especially to our perceived enemies, and due to the Brexit mess we have become a laughing stock… a pushover!

May has to go and will eventually, but who the hell do we replace her with?

Alan Reid

Hi Chris “Chequers’ was a compromise to meet most of everyone’s wishes and she took a huge political risk. And the EU have slapped it down and humiliated a British Prime Minister, and therefore the British people, in public. BASTARDS!” Very emotive language; but I think all the EU has stated is that it doesn’t like the plan – and in that respect it is in agreement with the leading Brexiteers of the Conservative Party! We have taken the decision to leave the EU, but rage against Brussels because it isn’t keen to cut us a beneficial deal and mitigate… Read more »


(Chris H) Anthony D, Antidote & Alan Reid – You 3 apparently, as is entirely your right, view this from the ‘Remainer’ perspective where we Brexiteers are always wrong and the EU is always right. Frankly I don’t understand, as is my right, why UK citizens are so enamored by a foreign political construct that exists on the back of a Ponzi Scheme of 6 paying while 22 take out but ‘we are all equal’. But apparently people like Germany and France are a bit ‘more equal than us’. How on earth can Malta carry the same clout as the… Read more »


Chris H – No, you have me completely wrong. I am 100% for leave. The EU is a sinking ship, and we are the first to jump ship and swim to safety. The others may well drown.

Anthony D

Chris and co. Fifty million dead. Twenty one million refugees. One trillion dollars wasted. Unquantifiable suffering. Never, ever again. I can take a bit of migration, some sovereignty pooling, the occasion tiff with the french. We were part of building something really special, something that could change the brutal history of our continent. We’ve all lost sight of the bigger picture. A picture users of this site should be far more cognisant of.


AD – Maybe you can take some sovereignty pooling, but others can’t and simpy don’t want to. I see the EU as more of a threat to starting another WW than if the EU didn’t exist. The EU isn’t something special (anymore), it is something that has morphed into a political entity run by unelected bureaucrats for whom power has gone to their heads. Nuclear weapons are a much safer bet of there not being another war in Europe on the scale of WW1 and WW2. As it stands, Germany is the major threat to stability in Europe out of… Read more »


(Chris H) Anthony D – I fully take on board the emotion of ‘never again’ but forgive me: We never started any of those European wars. No we had to sacrifice our economic future and 1% of our population undoing what those in Europe had done. And that was just WWII. We sacrificed a huge global position, endured years of destruction and loss of life and ended up 50 years in debt to the Yanks. And yet you seem to blame us? Our leaving will not (as Remainers forecast) cause WWIII. Our being outside never caused WWI or WWII either.… Read more »

Anthony D

Chris, if your still on the thread, scroll to the bottom.

Nigel Collins

And it appears that we may be heading back towards cold war status once again?



It’s good news that we are upping our cyber capabilities, and a four-fold increase in manpower is a big step forwards.

We have been back in Cold War status for quite a while.


One could even go further and portray these activities as helpful and friendly gestures. At least for the UK if we didn’t have this sort of Russian activity going on I can easily imagine some bean counters in the MoD clamping down and down on live flight hours in order to save fuel and airframe hours such that our pilots hardly ever actually got off the ground. At least this stuff ensures that our pilots and ground staff get real life practice on a fairly regular basis.

Daniele Mandelli

Too true Julian.

Yet even here the QRA and Radar set up of the UK ASCS has been cut over the years.

Alan Reid

On the further subject of RAF Cold War spy-flights, apart from the epic RB-45 missions during 1952 & 1954, the EE Canberra was also doing some rather intriguing “snooping” about over missile test sites in the southern USSR.
I’m sure I’ve seen a TV-interview with a retired Soviet radar operator, and he stated up to 20 incursions. If so, the most mysterious was probably the long-range fight in August 1953 to Kapustin Yar. A good link below, if anyone is interested.

Daniele Mandelli

Thanks Alan.

Barry Larking


Steve M

Just curious as to what NATO flies near Russian/Chinese airspace? Not questioning it, I’d just like to know what kind of aircraft are used.

Daniele Mandelli

Partially see above.

Off my head, and just the US and UK.

RC 135 Rivet Joint.
RC 135 Cobra Ball.
P3’s in the South China Sea and around Vladivostok.
RN and USN Submarines. ( Yes I know they do not fly! )
Nimrod R1’s previously, especially over the Baltic.
SR 71 previously.
No doubt all sorts of classified UAV and Stealth recc aircraft now.

Others can no doubt add more detail.

Steve M

Thanks Daniele, very interesting! Please excuse my lack of knowledge 🙂

Daniele Mandelli

Nonsense. Everyone contributes where they can.

I’m clueless with all the tech stuff described by people with actual hands on experience, in subjects you won’t find me commenting on as I’d have no place to.

This forum is open to all with an active interest, from current and ex professionals to researchers like myself to the mere curious with an opinion.

Nothing to excuse Steve M.

Captain P Wash


Ian Smith

I am Spartacus, I mean Merely Curious.
I do enjoy UKDJ.

Aethelstan the Curious.

I am Spartacus, I mean Merely Curious.
I do enjoy UKDJ.

P tattersall

Shoot them down like the Turks do ! Only thing the russian midget understands

Anthony D

Sorry Chris, I didn’t mean to imply GB at fault, it’s more that we inevitably get drawn in and have a self interested role in keeping Europe peaceful and stable going forward. In terms of sovereignty, we have complete control of defence, foreign policy and monetary policy while being in. Trade wise, it gives us frictionless access to 500m of the world’s wealthiest consumers, with onward trade deals with 60 other countries. It’s also easier to get a good deal working as a market of 500m and 28 states. On net contribution is worth it on my mind. The commission… Read more »