If you have been living on the moon week there is an outside chance you might not have seen the wall to wall coverage of a pair of Russian Tu-95’s on their south coast sightseeing tour.
An MoD spokesman said
While the Russian planes did not enter sovereign UK airspace and were escorted by RAF Typhoons throughout the time they were in the UK area of interest, the Russian planes caused disruption to civil aviation. That is why we summoned the Russian Ambassador today to account for the incident.
Typhoons from both RAF Conningsby and Lossiemouth with support from Voyagers were used for the 12 hour operation. The Russian aircraft had their transponders off, hence the disruption to civilian air traffic.
Several sources reported this as a ‘significant escalation’and that the numbers of interceptions were back at ‘Cold War’ levels.
Nothing to do with SDSR 2015 of course, that would be far too cynical.
Coincidentally, a Parliamentary Question was answered on just the subject;
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many times aircraft were intercepted by Quick Reaction Alert flights in 2014; and what the (a) intercepted aircraft type and (b) location were.
Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) aircraft launched to intercept aircraft on 20 days in 2014. The number of days on which QRA aircraft have launched specifically against Russian military aircraft for each year since 2005 is contained in the table below. Not every launch resulted in an interception as some incidents were resolved prior to interception.
|Year||No. Days Launched Against Russian Military Aircraft|