The UK Defence Journal understands that Typhoon jets will be deploying to the Arctic later this month for what is intended to be a secret escort mission involving a cargo aircraft.

Typhoon jets will be available to escort the unknown aircraft as part of Operation ‘Jolly Red’.

We can also confirm that the RAF also plan to deploy Voyager tankers in order to refuel the inbound cargo aircraft.

Voyager, the RAF designation for the Airbus A330 MRTT, began air-to-air refuelling flights and made its first operational tanker flight in May 2013. The UK operates a total of 14 Voyager aircraft, 5 of which are leased for commercial purposes when not required. In addition to fuel, the Voyager aircraft is also expected to transfer over some biscuits and a large quantity of Brandy on behalf of the British people.

This comes after news that the Royal Air Force was on high alert in order to intercept and track flights from the Arctic region.

The move has been prompted by an incident around a year ago in which Typhoon aircraft escorted a Lapland registered aircraft over every home in the country, the pilot of the craft was said to be under the influence of alcohol and very “festive”, this is especially dangerous due to the sheer volume of cargo the aircraft was carrying.

This is expected to happen again towards the end of this month.

An MoD spokesman had this to say:

“Interception is part of what the QRA force do. We have to identify and confirm who or what is flying through our airspace or approaching our airspace and since the craft appears at the same time each year, we have a fairly good idea who will be flying but we don’t take any chances.”

The Ministry of Defence used satellites with infrared sensors to track the aircraft last time this happened, it is understood that the heat from an animals red nose was clearly visible.

More on this as it develops, expect an update on the 24th and 25th of this month..

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Daniele Mandelli

I’m surprised the cargo aircraft needs refuelling, as it has worldwide range.
I believed it could stay aloft almost indefinitely and just needs spare crew when rests are needed.

George Royce

maybe the cargo is precious? Wonder what it could be. It’s not a Yeti is it? :S

Daniele Mandelli

I hear it may come from a worldwide UN aid budget to bring joy to the needy, and not so needy!

Daniele Mandelli

Maybe send a FOIA request to MoD AS2A. They deal with Unidentified Aerial Phenomena!!


I’m reliably informed by insider sources that it will be enough coal to fuel all of China’s energy needs for the next year.

Steve Salt

Apparently a manifest has been made and checked twice.

Captain P Wash

I can’t add anything to this, that hasn’t been said before……… over the past few years…….


Yeah, I am getting bored of the same story every year too, wouldnt be so bad with one joke press release but its repeated multiple times throughout the month by evey country each time adding a little twist. If nations actually did provide the escorts they claim it would be very crowded skies over the artic.


Op SANTA now in full swing.

Toys to all the children
Around the world.

Gavin Gordon

This is a worrying development. I fear our precious air assets have been diverted from essential QRA duties by fake news. I blame the Russians.


Well done to the RAF for embarking on this vital mission. Brings back warm memories of a simpler time that we have lost in the modern world and, despite the fact that the pilot appears to have had a couple of dops(local SA speak for a few drinks) he still seems perfectly capable of flying his chariot safely 🙂