British jets scrambled at the weekend to intercept two Russian SU-30 Flanker fighters, two SU-24 Fencer attack aircraft and an AN-12 transport aircraft flying off the north coast of Estonia.

The aircraft were in international airspace and this intercept is entirely routine.

Armed Forces Minister Mark Lancaster said:

“Our commitment to NATO and European security is unwavering and our brave RAF pilots have shown once again that we are ready to respond to any threat to the UK and its allies. Alongside our NATO allies, we must remain vigilant and aware of Russian military activity.”

The Typhoons took over the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission from the German Air Force last month.

A Typhoon pilot from XI(Fighter) Squadron, attached to 121 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW), was conducting Quick Reaction Alert duty when the scramble was called. He said in a press release issued by the MoD:

“We were scrambled to intercept a group of four Russian fighters. The intercept was routine and we stayed with them for around 25 minutes during their transit from mainland Russia to the Kaliningrad oblast.

Once complete with this task we hauled off and conducted a further intercept of a Russian AN-12 aircraft travelling much lower and slower along the same route. The intercept of all five aircraft was uneventful and conducted in a professional manner throughout.”

This is the fourth Quick Reaction Alert scramble since the RAF deployed in April 2019 as part of Baltic Air Policing.

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This situation is either controllable or holds the prospect of high risk. The Russian probing is deliberate and hopefully, measured, but we simply do not know? I can’t help wondering just what would happen if such an encounter as this, went wrong and planes clashed? Is NATO/Europe truly in a military position to take on Russia? If the answer is no, then what the hell is this Estonian deployment about?


I like probing as much as the next person, but flying from 1 part of Russia to another is hardly worth getting excited about.

Daniele Mandelli

Was going to say same Ulya.

Certainly deliberate too flying to your own country!


RT post the same sort of story all the time Uyla in hysterical manner


Yes Dave, I’m aware. I have very little interest in any media, too much propaganda not enough real reporting


Good point Ulya and english papers are terrible but Russian media as a whole are much worst ,it being controlled by the kremlin


Not all media is controlled by the Kremlin Dave, there are many independent, but they all have their agenda and push their point of view. I use to read English and Arabic language media just to try and get balance but even that has become a waste of time beyond being mild entertainment while waiting for my flight


Fair point. The majority of the UK media, the press in particular, are extremely partisan and seem to push the agenda of their owners. The BBC is still probably the most balanced, but it will see the world through a liberal lens so you have to bear that in mind. Sky News is generally fine too.


‘probing,’? Flying between sovereign bases in international airspace… Biggest risk is misinterpretation i think….. But professional responses will let the K know the price would be high and the outcome uncertain….


Europe could easily take on Russia alone. The European Navy is huge and just France Germany and the UK could take on Russia, Hell I would put the UK and France against Russia. I have confidence, and Britain has fought and won many times against bigger millitarys…


You misunderstand Russia’s defence plan I think Cam, our army, navy and aerospace forces don’t need to be so big to take on all Europe at once, the Soviet days are gone and we don’t have the population or budget for that, it only needs to be big enough for small local conflicts and so the west knows we can cause some pain if pushed. Our main defence plan against NATO is our strategic missile force, simply put, we die, you all die with us. I do appreciate your faith in your military


lol oh Ulya I know its your job to promote putin but the simple fact is the Kremin have been much the aggressor and there is not much difference on its agenda to the USSR as putin wants and he is not very good at home economics it seems. Dont forget as I have said ,the nations who were under controll of the kremlin in the 20th century want to join the west,why? because it brings hope and not a cheap nationalism putin promotes. keep trying Ulya for the Motherland


It is the right if all ex Soviet states to go west if they want Dave, they are sovereign countries so can do whatever they like. There are certainly problems that need to be fixed, Ukraine being one of the most obvious, many of these problems should of been sorted 20+ years ago when the union broke up but unfortunately this didn’t happen. Not sure what any off your comment has to do with my reply to Cam btw. What is this cheap nationalism Putin promotes? You make it sound like having pride in one’s country or protecting our sovereignty… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

“You make it sound like having pride in one’s country or protecting our sovereignty and culture is a bad thing,”



Ye its not pride with you Ulya ,its you trying, as putin does to project a view that him and his Regime wants the world to hear when its not quite true on all accounts, and I think after salisbury and the GRU hacking of the OPCW HQ , you got a bit of cheek to to use UKDJ as platform to do so how ever subtle you try to do it.


I have read most of Ulya’s posts on UKDJ I believe. She always comes across as patriotic but balanced in her views. I highly doubt therefore that she is a Putin crony, as you might put it. Her opinions are as valid as anyone else’s so lets not discourage discourse with those who may have an opposing view.


You missed Rob her comment of denying the novichoks attack and then her going on a rant that all Russian traitors must die lol,she sounds like a extreme putin supporter to me.


Lol – I most definitely didn’t read those!


Europe is a defensive mess. But NATO is far more powerful than Russia. Not sure why some people have the impression that Russia is any more powerful than a medium conventional power. I guess the Putin propaganda machine is doing their job!


Not sure about them being a medium sized power, tens of thousands of tanks and armoured vehicles, a large Air Force including long ranged bomber squadrons, a submarine force many times greater than any other European military and more nukes than any other nation on earth. Much of their depth may be of older generations, but enough new stuff to deplete our platforms significantly before being taken out themselves and then have them as back up. What do we have as back up? To my eyes, Russia do a staggering amount with the budget of a medium power. Nukes aside,… Read more »


I sometimes think, that the only thing stopping war, is the balance of mutual incompetence.


Frankly, some of the comments made about Russia are worrying. You T.S. are correct to point out some relevant facts, and yes, Russia would be a very challenging opponent if tested. Their MBT fleet is far bigger than anything the West could match, and some would say the days of the MBT are dead? Well, I for one would not want to be around any frontline where Russian tank battalions await their prey. Nato’s depleted tank fleets are a real concern, along with the poor health of German’s current military strength. No, it would be crass to ignore the Russian… Read more »


I don’t know where your information is sourced from but your figures are not correct; Russia has 2,562 active tanks. 3300 IFV’s etc. Hardly “tens of thousands” as you claim. Large air-force by what comparison? The UK (I agree); the US, definitely not. Russian Navy power is not so great, with a large part of its overall force old by comparison with Western standards. Since I was initially comparing NATO to Russia, I will stand by my original conclusion. I will agree with one point you made; the Russian military has a lot of equipment (at least they claim to… Read more »


Correct and those tanks are spread across all of continental Russia… how many are facing China and Japan? And how many tanks do the Ukraine have or Belarus? And pardon me but in order to get to Germany the Russians have to get past Ukraine and Poland. Poland alone has 1100 tanks, Ukraine 2000. The execrable Putin just wants to sabre rattle so he can continue to steal money out of the pockets of ordinary Russians and line his own pockets. He is corrupt. All politically he wants to do is threaten Latvia and Estonia and Finland and con a… Read more »


I disagree, Pakistan is in a far worse state than Russia. At least in Russia the State still has a modicum of control over the country. In Pakistan there are whole swathes of the country not in their control, run by local warlords and the Pakistani Taliban. The madrasas pump out deluded kids and send them across the border to fight in Afghanistan. The state cannot stop or control them. No, Russia is not in the same league as Pakistan, thank the stars.


They are both run by the secret police.


spot on trevor


What is quoted are the active vehicles. The Russian military very rarely throws anything away. A good example is the Chkalovsk airfield northwest of Kalingrad city. I’m not sure how old the image is provided by Google maps. But the airfields dispersal’s are littered with SU27s and a few TU22s. The way they are parked suggests they are no longer in use. Clearly from the pictures you cannot tell how airworthy these aircraft are, or how quickly they could be returned to service.


But they are not kept in the arid dry Arizona desert are they.


If you have a good look at a Su27 up close, you’ll notice how thick the aircraft’s skin is compared to say an F16. I think it is best to say they are rugged the F16 is flimsy by comparison.
The google image shows the aircraft quite clearly with their cockpit transparencies and the rest of the aircraft not covered with any weather protection, so I would imagine regardless of how rugged they are, they are properly well ropey.

Mr Bell

David, the Russiabs have a large active tank force of T90, 80 series tanks and Bnp 2 series IFVs but their real threat comes from mobilising their reserves. Could the West really stop tens of thousands of T72,80 series tanks held in reserve. Cold war relics maybe but still a threat. The UK as well as most European nations have hollowed out their armed forces so we have exquisite kit, well trained professionals just not enough, certainly not enough for any kind of attritional losses. That is why the RN needs to go back upto 10 SSNs, 26 frigates and… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Agree on hollowed out forces and the need to get to the levels you suggest in SSN, Escorts and Fast Jets. But unsure if the Russian reserve Tank force is as big a threat as you suggest? I know very little on the current state of play regards Russian ground equipment. But in the Cold War when the Soviet forces were considerably larger, much of the Soviet force was deemed as Category 2 or Category 3. Category 1 was their top readiness and comprised most of GSFG and their airborne forces. Cat 2 and Cat 3 were much further down… Read more »

The artist formerly known as Los Pollos chicken

Yes I too remember how Gulf war 1 the press and joe public who read the Sun and local rags made a big thing about how Iraq had 4th biggest army in the world and thousands of tanks and armoured vehicles. The coalition were supposed to be in for a real headache and mass casualties and losses against Sadams forces….. well history shows how that one turned out! Even comical Ali couldn’t spin the losses . Numbers alone don’t really add up to much when you are facing technologically superior opponents. The only thing that can be an issue for… Read more »

To be brutally honest, Saddam f***ed up his tactics. He went defensive when he should have gone offensive. However, after the bloody nose that the retreating Kuwati Chieftains gave him tying to get to the Saudi border, his forces would have had a hard time against the Saudi’s. His biggest issues were the poor discipline and crap communications between his forces. and perhaps being over optimistic with the performance of his Russian built SAM network. If you remember that on Day 1 of the air campaign his communication nodes, surveillance radars and SAM sites were targeted, blinding him. Once these… Read more »


Correct. The Russian public are smoking and drinking themselves to death at an alarming rate and the cabbage is fettid too. Feeding fake news to snowake millenials is not going to do. them any wars.

Daniele Mandelli

What difference is there between the RAF flying out to Cyprus and the Russians flying to their base in Kalingrad? None.

It is a good job the Russians don’t intercept our aircraft in international airspace over the med from their bases in Syria.

While no different to this situation there would be outcry here.

This is not probing or aggressive in any shape or form no more than our own flights are to the Russians.


Estonia has a border with Russia. Estonia is our ally. Without Estonia where would all the hen parties go to get ratarsed?

So we are quite within our rights to support Estonia as it patrols it’s borders. It gives our pilots some practice as well.

Daniele Mandelli

Of course, no one is suggesting otherwise.

My issue is people jumping up and down that this is an aggressive action by Russia, just like the same we get when their ships sail through the Channel en route to Syria.

Perspective is needed.

And yes Tallinn is lovely!!


Correct Daniele, and I am pretty sure the professional flight crews from both sides dont get so excited, and see it as a useful way of tipping your hat at the possible future opposition and checking out each others aircraft. And gets some more useful flying hours on both sides.


I recommend people look up Foundations of Geopolitics because that explains a lot about how Russia views Europe.