RAF quick reaction alert Typhoon aircraft were scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth to monitor two Tu-142 ‘BEAR-F’ Maritime Patrol aircraft, say the RAF.

One of the Quick Reaction Alert pilots from RAF Lossiemouth, who intercepted the Russian Bears, was quoted in a Royal Air Force press release as saying:

“Today’s scramble demonstrated the close working relationships we have with our NATO colleagues. After scrambling to intercept the two Russian aircraft, , we were in close contact with Battlespace Managers from the RAF and Norway, who directed us towards the aircraft and relayed orders throughout, ensuring we could confirm where they were and what they were doing at all times”

RAF Typhoons meet up with RAF Voyager aircraft.

According to the RAF in a statement here:

“The two Russian Tu-142 ‘BEAR-F’ aircraft approached from the North East and flew in international airspace over the Norwegian and North Seas. At no point did the Russian aircraft enter UK sovereign airspace. additional air to air refuelling support was provided by an RAF Voyager aircraft from RAF Brize Norton, alongside comms and radar support from the National Air and Space Operations Centre (High Wycombe) and Air Surveillance and Control System (RAF Boulmer). All of these elements remain on constant vigil to provide the RAF’s contribution to the defence of the UK.”Norwegian Quick Reaction Alert was also launched in the form of F-16s and F-35s, and a NATO E-3A Airborne Early Warning aircraft was re-tasked while operating west of the Shetlands to enhance radar coverage in the area.

The primary role of the Royal Air Force is to defend the UK, 365, 24/7 and, when necessary, UK interests overseas; the RAF will continue to remain alert and ready to intercept any unidentified military or civilian aircraft around UK airspace. Recent events have increased awareness of Russian military activity, however, the RAF have routinely intercepted, identified and escorted Russian air assets that transit international airspace within the UK’s area of interest.QRA are launched to intercept unidentified aircraft because the aircraft cannot be identified by any other means. i.e. the aircraft is not talking to civilian or military Air Traffic Control, has not filed a flight plan and is not transmitting a recognisable secondary surveillance radar code.”

Why does the RAF intercept aircraft outside sovereign UK airspace?

A country’s sovereign airspace extends 12 miles beyond its coastline, sitting above its territorial waters.  However, there are 3 main reasons why unknown or potentially hostile aircraft must be intercepted before they reach this point.

All airspace around the world is divided into Flight Information Regions (FIRs). Each FIR is managed by a controlling authority (in this case the UK) that has responsibility for ensuring that air traffic services are provided to the aircraft flying within it. UK Airspace is divided into three FIRs; London, Scottish and Shanwick Oceanic.

The first is flight safety. Whilst sovereign airspace only extends 12 miles from the coastline, countries are responsible for ensuring the safety of civil aviation, including the provision of ATC services, within areas known as Flight Information Regions or FIRs. These extend well beyond the 12-mile limit. Russian long range aviation often transits the London and Scottish FIRs without filing a flight plan, talking to ATC or ‘squawking’ (operating their transponders).  This makes them effectively invisible to civilian ATC and is very dangerous as airliners are also flying through this airspace.  By shadowing Russian aircraft, the intercepting aircraft can show ATC where they are, allowing controllers to move airliners safely out of the way.

You can read more on this here.

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Nigel Collins

Maybe a good time to invest in some conformal fuel tanks?


Nigel Collins

I found this CG image which appears to be far less bulky in design.


Robert Blay

They would still need AAR support for QRA as they need to keep the tanks topped up incase of diversions ect and these QRA flights can last well over 2 or 3 hours. Conformal tanks would definitely bring advantages to the long range interdiction type sorties, as well as aerodynamic and performance advantages, and free up two underwing stations for weapons. The Typhoon has remarkable good endurance giving it’s relative small size, about the same as a Tornado F3, mainly due to the EJ200 running on pretty much fresh air at high altitude 😆. They also have a auto throttle… Read more »

Steve R

I think that conformal fuel tanks would be a good idea. I also wonder if conformal missile pods could be made, each holding, say, 2-3 Meteor/ASRAAM to reduce the Typhoon’s RCS further too.

Robert Blay

I did see a CGI picture of a Typhoon on the Eurofighter Facebook page carrying 14 Meteors and 2 x ASRAAM! It had 4 x double launchers under the wings, looked great.


Have I missed something ? It mentions 3 reasons but only gives 1.

Daniele Mandelli

Click link at bottom mate “more on this here”

George has covered this before no point re writing.


Thanks – I was missing something !

Alexander Cochrane

I will tell you one thing…..when Scotland becomes free and independent from the pathetic tyrants who rob us daily it will be English jets that will be shot down invading Scotland’s airspace. They are Scotland’s real enemies, not the Russians.


Looking at the Russian’s tailplane, why am I not surprised to see that it’s sponsored by the BBC…

Uninformed Civvy Lurker

Tried replying twice to this explaining the BBC on the tail but keeps getting deleted.

Judson Simzer

What’s wrong with the Russians? I find them less offensive, less bombastic than the British and the Russians haven’t spent the last 850 years interfering in world affairs 😉👍


Bears are still going strong I see.
Bears and B52s will still be in the air 100 years after being built.
That is a remarkable legacy for these aircraft.

Paul Winter

….the bbc accused the Russians of indulging in ‘cold war behaviour’ and the following day, with no sense of irony, reported that a squadron of typhoons from RAF Kinross(?) would be carrying out exercises along the Russian border from an exercise base in Latvia.

george leitch

At last, proof that the BBC is a Russian entity. Why else would their initials be all over the “Bear”.