RAF Typhoons Stop Chasing Russians
As Operation BILOXI Ends, RAF Fighter Squadron Returns from Air Policing Mission in Romania
After chasing away 20 Russian aircraft since April, the Chief of the Air Staff Sir Stephen Hillier announced the conclusion of this year’s RAF NATO deployment to conduct enhanced Air Policing, codenamed Operation BILOXI.
Fighter Squadron Scrambles Eight Times to Intercept Russians
Personnel and aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth’s Number 1 (Fighter) Squadron and Number 2 (Army Cooperation) Squadron have conducted the NATO enhanced Air Policing mission in Romania since April 2018.
During the deployment, the RAF conducted eight scrambles in response to a total of 20 Russian aircraft flying towards Romanian air space.
RAF Standing By Its NATO Allies
Sir Stephen said: “This deployment is an example of the UK and the RAF standing by its NATO allies following the NATO Warsaw Summit of 2014, which introduced the Alliance’s assurance measures for Eastern Allies.
“This operation demonstrates the collective resolve of the Allies, and the defensive nature of their joint effort to deter Russia aggression.”
During his visit to the Scottish air station, Sir Stephen had the opportunity to thank the RAF personnel who deployed this year to Romania.
Sir Stephen said: “Earlier this year I visited the RAF detachment in Romania and saw for myself the professionalism and hard work of our deployed personnel.”
The RAF detachment has also conducted exercises with Romanian, US, Bulgarian, Hungarian and Croatian military forces. These exercises have allowed air to air, air/land and air/maritime integration training to be carried out with our NATO allies in the region.
RAF Deploying to Estonia and Iceland in 2019
For the RAF, this NATO Air Policing mission has now ended, but the Secretary of State for Defence has recently announced that the RAF will be deploying to Estonia and Iceland next year to conduct further NATO Air Policing missions.
Image: A Russian SU-27 Flanker aircraft banks away with a RAF Typhoon in the background. RAF Typhoons were scrambled on Tuesday 17 June 2014 to intercept multiple Russian aircraft as part of NATO’s ongoing mission to police Baltic airspace. The Typhoon aircraft, from 3 (Fighter) Squadron, were launched after four separate groups of aircraft were detected by NATO air defences in international airspace near to the Baltic States. Once airborne, the British jets identified the aircraft as a Russian Tupolev Tu22 ‘Backfire’ bomber, four Sukhoi Su27 ‘Flanker’ fighters, one Beriev A50 ‘Mainstay’ early warning aircraft and an Antonov An26 ‘Curl’ transport aircraft who appeared to be carrying out a variety of routine training. The Russian aircraft were monitored by the RAF Typhoons and escorted on their way. The Typhoon pilots involved in the operation were Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt) Mark Long of 29 (Reserve) Squadron (the Typhoon operational training unit) and a French Air Force exchange pilot Commandant Marc-antoine Gerrard who is currently attached to 1(Fighter) Squadron. (Crown Copyright, 2014)