RAF Typhoons ‘intercept’ Russian SU-24 bomber over Romanian Black Sea
The UK’s Royal Air Force says it has launched two Romania-based Typhoon fighter jets, responding to a Russian bomber that was spotted heading towards NATO airspace, over the western Black Sea.
The jet took off from Romania’s Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base on the coast of the Black Sea to scramble the Russian Su-24 FENCER aircraft. The Russian fighter plane was monitored by two Typhoon pilots from the 135 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW), in accordance with the NATO Enhanced Air Policing (EAP) mission the RAF is conducting in Romania.
RAF Typhoons based in Romania have been launched in response to Russian Su-24 FENCER aircraft operating near @NATO airspace over the Black Sea.Read more: https://t.co/qxd2GxKbUHpic.twitter.com/HQbAs4CsMx— Royal Air Force (@RoyalAirForce) July 26, 2018
One of the RAF’s typhoon pilots from the 1 (Fighter) squadron said that they were “vectored toward the unknown Russian aircraft who were close to infringing NATO airspace,” before adding that the Russian aircraft did not enter it. “We were ordered to patrol the skies for a short period of time as a deterrent, until finally returning to MK Air Base,” the pilot said.
This is not the first time the RAF said it has intercepted Russian jets near NATO airspace. In May this year Romania-based Typhoons were “launched as a response to a Russian Il-20 Coot aircraft” operating near NATO airspace over the Black Sea, the RAF wrote.
The Royal Air Force mission in Romania is part of NATO’s Assurance Measures activities which were introduced by the alliance back in 2014.
NATO has long been beefing up its presence in eastern Europe and the Baltic states, with Russia regularly portrayed as a boogeyman who needs to be warded off. Moscow has repeatedly stated that by boosting Western missile defenses on Russia’s doorstep, NATO risks undermining regional security.
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