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UK jets intercept suspected Russian fighter jets, report says

Sukhoi-35 Russian Aircraft. (Pixabay/Released)
November 01, 2018

Russian fighter jets reportedly flew close to foreign territory again – this time in the United Kingdom.

The suspected Russian aircraft were spotted near U.K. airspace, prompting Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon fighter jets to deploy and intercept them, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing a British Ministry of Defense statement.

“Typhoon fighters … were scrambled today as a precautionary measure against a potential incursion into UK area of interest by one or more unidentified aircraft,” the Ministry of Defense (MOD) said.

The MOD determined that the incident did not pose a threat to the U.K. or its airspace.

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The incident is not out of the ordinary, as Russian aircraft frequently pass near U.K. territory. The RAF constantly monitors the presence of foreign aircraft near their airspace and have intercepted Russian aircraft in the past – even recently.

In September, Russian Blackjack long-range nuclear bombers were intercepted by two RAF jets near the coast of Newcastle as they traveled through international airspace while ignoring radio calls, Fox News reported at the time.

“The Russian Blackjacks… were not talking to air traffic control, making them a hazard to all other aviation,” the RAF said in a statement.

The incident was the third intercept of Russian bombers in a month.

Near the coast of Alaska, the U.S. Air Force intercepted Russian TU-95 Bear bombers on two occasions in September. They were intercepted west of Alaska and escorted by two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter jets.

The Russian aircraft remained in international airspace, but their proximity to U.S. territory alerted U.S. forces, who continuously monitor the airspace.

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“NORAD employs a layered defense network of radars, satellites, as well as fighters to identify aircraft and determine the appropriate response,” NORAD Commander Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy said at the time.

British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said, “Russian bombers probing U.K. airspace is another reminder of the very serious military challenge that Russia poses us today.”

“We will not hesitate to continually defend our skies from acts of aggression. Once again the rapid reactions of our RAF have demonstrated how vital our Armed Forces are in protecting Britain,” he added.

The increase of Russia’s presence near U.K. and U.S. territories has been perceived as increasingly aggressive acts.

Britain’s Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster, said the RAF intercepted Russian aircraft more than 80 times across the last decade in what demonstrated “an ever more assertive Russia.”