RAF jets scrambled to intercept Russian military plane amid rising tensions in Baltic

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“We identified and monitored it as it transited close to Nato air space”

Pilot

The Typhoon jets closed in on a Russian IL-76 military transport aircraft that was flying close to the Baltic state’s airspace.

Britain’s fighter jets were based at Estonia’s Amari Air Base, according to the MOJ that shared photos of the mission. 

A statement added that the interception was a “routine Nato mission for the Typhoons which provides reassurance that the UK is here to work in partnership with Estonia”. 

An unnamed Typhoon pilot said: “We were scrambled to intercept an aircraft that was approaching Estonian air space from the south. 

“We identified and monitored it as it transited close to Nato air space. 

“This is standard protocol for aircraft that might not be communicating with air traffic control or on a recognised flight plan.”

The pilot, from XI Squadron, attached to 121 Expeditionary Air Wing, added: “we continued to escort the transport aircraft as it transited in a north direction, away from Estonian air space.” 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “As this latest quick reaction alert demonstrates, the RAF is frequently called upon to use their world-class skills and capabilities to help police and protect the skies over the Baltic.”

The RAF is deployed Operation Azotize in Estonia in support of Baltic air policing. 

It was the 14th scramble and interest since the RAF took over enhanced air policing from the German Air Force on May 3 as part of Baltic air policing.” 

Russian jets have a habit of flying into other countries’ airspace. 

Last week, South Korean jets fired warning shots at Russian military planes after one violated the country’s airspace. 

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