RAF and German air force intercept Russian jet in first joint patrols of airspace


A Russian aircraft has been intercepted by British RAF and German fighter jets after it was identified near NATO airspace.

Two Typhoon jets – one British and one German – reacted to the Russian aircraft after it failed to communicate with Estonian air traffic control close to the NATO nation’s airspace.

The Ministry of Defence said it was a “routine” NATO mission.

Confirming this, a Typhoon pilot from the RAF’s Bomber Squadron, who was not named by the MOD, said: “As a fighter pilot this was a routine business, even though I was flying alongside a German colleague.”

The pilot said they had identified and monitored the Russian jet as it “transited close to NATO airspace”.

Given it hadn’t communicated with air traffic control, they intercepted it to ensure they knew “who they [were] and [to] maintain flight safety for all airspace users”.

It is the first time British and German air forces have teamed up to patrol the airspace in Estonia, which shares a border with Russia and is part of NATO.

German Typhoon shadowing a Russian AN-148
German Typhoon shadowing a Russian AN-148 (file image)
Typhoon intercepts a Russian IL-787 Midas
Typhoon intercepts a Russian IL-787 Midas (file image)

It follows tensions between the military alliance and Russia as Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine rages on.

Armed forces minister James Heappey said: “NATO continues to form the bedrock of our collective security.

“This joint UK and German deployment in the Baltics clearly demonstrates our collective resolve to challenge any potential threat to NATO’s borders, whilst demonstrating our combined strength.”

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This interception comes after a Russian fighter jet collided with a US drone, provoking a diplomatic row between the two nations.

US forces accused the jet of “recklessly” crashing into its drone, causing it to crash into the Black Sea.

Russia denied involvement, with a senior figure describing the episode as a “provocation”.

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Russia ‘doesn’t want confrontation’ with US

The incident has demonstrated the increased risk of a direct confrontation between the two superpowers because of the Ukraine war.

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