Jets from RAF Lossiemouth were scrambled in the early hours of this morning – the second time this week that Typhoons from the Moray base have been called into action.
Increased activity by Russian ‘Bear’ Bombers are almost certainly the cause of more than a few residents around Lossiemouth being awoken by the roar of Typhoon jets around 3.45am this morning.
The activity of Russian aircraft saw the base’s new Quick Reaction Alert force called out in the early hours of Wednesday morning to intercept was is being described as an “unusual level” of Russian activity in international airspace close to the UK.
Eight aircraft were detected flying over the North Sea in an incident that NATO said could be a potential danger to passenger flights as the Russian’s had neither filed flight paths or made radio contact with Air Traffic Control.
Six of the aircraft had turned back before the two Lossiemouth jets escorted the others through the UK’s information region. The Russian aircraft had not entered UK airspace.
Supported by Air to Air refuelling by Voyager aircraft from RAF Brize Norton, the Lossiemouth crews were home in time for breakfast around 7am.
The operations this week are the first real experience of the overnight activity – and attendant noise – that can be expected by those living around the base.
A spokesman for the RAF Control and Reporting Centre at RAF Boulmer, who are responsible for scrambling the QRA force, said: “Recent events have increased awareness of Russian military activity, however, the RAF have routinely intercepted, identified and escorted Russian air assets that transit international airspace within the UK’s area of interest.
“Russian military flights have never entered UK sovereign airspace without authorisation.
“The primary role of the RAF is to control the air over the UK and, when necessary, UK interests overseas. Our impressive multi-role Typhoon fighter squadrons are based at RAF Coningsby, RAF Lossiemouth and in the Falkland Islands.
“Today and every day, just as during the Battle of Britain, they maintain the highest level of readiness.”
Commenting on Wednesday’s incident a NATO spokesman said: “These sizable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European airspace.
“The bomber and tanker aircraft from Russia did not file flight plans or maintain radio contact with civilian air traffic control authorities and they were not using on-board transponders.
“This poses a potential risk to civil aviation as civilian air traffic control cannot detect these aircraft or ensure there is no interference with civilian air traffic.”