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UK fighter jets react to more incoming aircraft a day after scrambling to intercept Russian bombers

ZK438 Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 lights the afterburner for a performance takeoff RAF Coningsby.

Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

  • The Royal Air Force scrambled fighter jets Thursday in response to aircraft approaching a UK “area of interest.”
  • British authorities declined to identify the nationality of the approaching aircraft. 
  • On Wednesday, British aircraft intercepted four Russian strategic bombers amid rising tensions between Putin and NATO over Ukraine.

Just one day after intercepting a handful of Russian strategic bombers, the Royal Air Force again scrambled fighter jets Thursday in response to more aircraft approaching a UK “area of interest.”

“Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighters from RAF Lossiemouth, supported by a Voyager Tanker from RAF Brize Norton, have been launched against aircraft approaching the UK area of interest,” a RAF spokesperson said in a statement to Reuters.

“We will not be offering any additional detail on this ongoing operation until complete,” the air service said, declining to identify the nationality of the aircraft.

Thursday’s incident follows an engagement the day before with four Russian bear bombers.

A Russian Tu-95 bear bomber and its escort fighter during an event in Russia.A Russian Tu-95 bear bomber and its escort fighter during an event in Russia.

Photo by Elizaveta Becker/ullstein bild via Getty Images

On Wednesday, the RAF quickly scrambled fighter jets to intercept four Russian military aircraft that entered a UK “area of interest,” which is different from sovereign territorial airspace and is instead international airspace over which a country maintains a certain degree of responsibility.

The RAF said its “Typhoon fighters escorted the Russian aircraft out” and that the Russian strategic bombers did not enter British airspace, according to the UK Defence Journal.

The Russian aircraft, according to the RAF, were two Tu-95 Bear H and two Tu-142 Bear F bombers. Russian state media published footage of some of the bomber activity.

—Rob Lee (@RALee85) February 3, 2022

The RAF routinely intercepts aircraft approaching the UK “area of interest.” When Russian military aircraft enter this monitored section of international airspace, it can be dangerous because they have a tendency to not communicate with air traffic control, the Associated Press reported.

Russia also regularly flies bombers and other military aircraft past other NATO countries, and it has also flown them into the US air defense identification zone off Alaska. These maneuvers are sometimes considered drills, while others are sometimes suspected to be sending a message.

It is unclear what the intention of Wednesday’s fly-by was, but it came during a time of heightened tension between the UK and Russia. Prime Minister Boris Johnson just recently returned from Kyiv and has said that Russia will face consequences, specifically sanctions, should it invade its neighbor.

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