RAF Intercepts Russian Fighters in Estonia
Typhoons Scramble as SU-30 Flankers Approach Estonia Estonia
Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon fighter jets based at Ämari Air Base in Estonia scrambled to intercept Russian aircraft, Thursday, 30 May, for the third time that month. Two Russian SU-30 Flanker-C fighters, two SU-24 Fencer attack aircraft and an AN-12 transport aircraft were detected flying off the north coast of Estonia. As part of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission, RAF Typhoons were detailed to intercept, according to the Ministry of Defence.
A Typhoon pilot from XI(Fighter) Squadron, attached to 121 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW), was conducting Quick Reaction Alert duty when the scramble was called. He said:
We were scrambled to intercept a group of four Russian fighters. The intercept was routine and we stayed with them for around 25 minutes during their transit from mainland Russia to the Kaliningrad oblast.
Once complete with this task we hauled off and conducted a further intercept of a Russian AN-12 aircraft travelling much lower and slower along the same route. The intercept of all five aircraft was uneventful and conducted in a professional manner throughout.
This is the fourth Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) scramble since the RAF deployed in April 2019 as part of Baltic Air Policing. The RAF operates alongside its NATO allies to deter Russian aggression and assure NATO allies of the UK’s commitment to collective defence.
Armed Forces Minister Mark Lancaster said:
Our commitment to NATO and European security is unwavering and our brave RAF pilots have shown once again that we are ready to respond to any threat to the UK and its allies. Alongside our NATO allies, we must remain vigilant and aware of Russian military activity.
This was a routine NATO mission for the Typhoons which took over the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission from the German Air Force last month. The presence in the Baltics provides reassurance that the UK is here to work in partnership with Estonia.
A Russian Ilyushin Il-22 Bizon and a SU-27 Flanker aircraft, flying along the Baltic coast on the 14/05/2019.
Royal Air Force Typhoons deployed in Estonia have scrambled twice in two days to intercept Russian aircraft flying along the Baltic coast, their first scrambles since taking over the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission in the country.
On Tuesday 14 May Typhoon jets launched a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) scramble out of Ämari Air Base in response to two Russian SU-27 Flanker fighter aircraft and one IL-22 aircraft that were flying along the Baltic coast heading towards Kaliningrad.
On Wednesday 15 May Typhoon once again launched from Ämari to intercept another two SU-27 aircraft and an IL20 and escorted the formation towards Russia.
These are the first QRA scrambles since the RAF took over the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission from the German Air Force last month. Both were conducted in a safe and professional manner throughout.