Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter jets currently deployed in Lithuania have intercepted a Russian Il-20 Coot-A, ISR radar reconnaissance and electronic intelligence aircraft operating over the Baltic Sea.
The Il-20M Coot was monitored, as it flew through the Lithuanian Flight Information Region in international airspace, to ensure the safety of other airspace users as Russian Military aircraft do not file flight plans in accordance with standard international practice.
For the Royal Air Force this is a routine reaction for 135 Expeditionary Air Wing and the 6 Squadron Typhoons, who are operating from Siauliai Air Base alongside the Spanish Air Force to conduct the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission. This sortie is the latest demonstration of the enduring allied partnerships across the NATO missions for the safety and integrity of the Baltic airspace and also shows the UK’s commitment to the security of the region.
The Ilyushin Il-20 is the militarized form of the base Soviet-era Il-18 “Coot” quad-turboprop passenger hauler and the Il-20M is an upgraded electronic signals intelligence aircraft based on a 1950s-era turboprop-powered plane. These are aircraft equipped with special mission systems for the intelligence-gathering role also serving in the Electronic signals Intelligence (ELINT) role.