British fighter jets scrambled to intercept 2 Russian strategic bombers over Atlantic

A Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bomber © Host Photo Agency
British Typhoon fighter jets took off from an airbase in Scotland to intercept Russian bombers passing close to the UK’s airspace over the Atlantic Ocean.

“Typhoon aircraft went up from RAF Lossiemouth to intercept two Russian Tu-160 aircraft flying in Britain's area of interest in international airspace over the Atlantic and remained with them until they left the area," Reuters cited a British Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman.

The aircraft were identified as Russian Tu-160 ‘Blackjack’ supersonic bombers, which “were escorted by the RAF until they were clear of the UK area of interest,” a Royal Air Force spokesperson said, stressing that “at no time did the Russian aircraft cross into UK sovereign airspace.”

Russian Tupolev Tu-95 ‘Bear’ and Tu-160 ‘Blackjack’ nuclear-capable bombers regularly pass by UK airspace, mostly over the North Sea, while patrolling the North Atlantic. In February 2015, though, two Tu-95s flying from the Engels airbase in southern Russia passed by the British airspace from the south, flying above the international waters of the English channel.

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Soon after that incident, the former head of the Royal Air Force (RAF) Sir Michael Graydon said in an interview to the Daily Mail that “They (Russian bombers) fly in these regions to check our air defenses and have probably worked out we are not as sharp as we were.”

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