Lossiemouth aircraft undergo first mission in Baltic role

Lossiemouth Typhoon intercepts a Russian IL-76 (Crown Copyright)
Lossiemouth Typhoon intercepts a Russian IL-76 (Crown Copyright)

THREE WEEKS AFTER being deployed to Estonia as part of Nato’s Baltic air policing mission, crews from II(AC) Squadron were scrambled to intercept Russian aircraft this week.

The Lossiemouth aircraft are on constant alert and were called into action when three transport aircraft – later identified as an AN-26, AN-12 and IL-76 – approached the Baltic states.

The Russian trio are thought to have been testing defences as they approached without responding to challenges and not transmitting any recognised identification code. UK Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, said that the mission was “another example of just how important the UK’s contribution to the Baltic Air Policing Mission is.”

He added: “We were able to instantly respond to this act of Russian aggression – demonstration of our commitment to NATO’s collective defence.”

Four Typhoons from Moray are currently deployed at the Amari base in Estonia, with two on constant 24-hour alert, seven days a week. Following the activity this week one of the pilots involved said: “The scramble went exactly as planned, we launched our Typhoon aircraft quickly and then using our advanced sensors and mission systems, combined with support from our Battlespace Managers on the ground, carried out textbook intercepts of the three aircraft.”

It is the third year that Typhoons have been deployed on the Baltic mission under the command of Wing Commander Gordon Melville, who controls the 140 Expeditionary Air Wing.

He said: “We have once more proven our ability to secure the skies in the vicinity of the Baltic States and have demonstrated the close link between the Royal Air Force, Estonian and NATO units that have planned and enabled this defensive response so successfully.

“We will continue to standby 24/7 to secure the Baltic skies.”