Yesterday 29 March 2019 RAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) british Typhoon fighter aircraft scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth, with an RAF Voyager from Brize Norton, to monitor two Russian Blackjacks approaching UK airspace.
The RAF worked closely with NATO partners to monitor the Russian aircraft as they passed through a variety of international airspace before they were intercepted over the North Sea. Our fighters escorted them from the UK’s area of interest and ensured that they did not enter UK sovereign airspace.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Our brave RAF pilots have shown again that we are ready to respond to any threat to the UK. Alongside our NATO allies, we must remain vigilant and aware of Russian military activity.”
The RAF routinely identify, intercept and escort Russian aircraft that transit international airspace within proximity to the UK’s area of interest and continue to be on call every day. This is the second time this week RAF aircraft have taken to the air to investigate Russian activity, following a similar incident on Wednesday evening, but on that occasion, an intercept by the Typhoons was not necessary.
The russian strategic bomber Tu-160 is capable of carrying the strategic cruise missile Kh-55MS, which is known by the Nato designation as AS-15 Kent. Up to 12 Kh-55MS missiles can be carried by a single Tu-160, six in each bay. The maximum range of the Kh-55MS is 3,000km, and it is armed with a 200kt nuclear warhead.