RAF Typhoon jets scrambled to intercept Russian warplanes near UK airspace

RAF jets were scrambled to intercept Russian aircraft spotted flying near UK airspace over the North Sea.

The Typhoon planes launched from Lossiemouth in Scotland just before 8am on Saturday, before later being joined by an RAF Voyager tanker from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire which provided refuelling.

The Russian aircraft in question – two Tu-142 Bear F planes – is used in anti-submarine warfare and maritime patrol, according to the RAF, which says it is "essential" to "carefully monitor" their movements while operating close to the UK.

Russian warplanes can be a hazard as they do not "squawk" or transmit codes to reveal their altitude and intentions.

They also do not talk to UK air traffic controllers, meaning other planes have to be re-routed to avoid collisions.

The Typhoons shadowed the Russian Bears closely while keeping an eye on their movements and NATO allies also monitored the Russian planes.

The returned to the RAF base at Lossiemouth early on Saturday afternoon.

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An RAF spokesperson said: "The QRA crew did a fantastic job, locating aircraft that were not easy to detect very quickly.

"Again, the RAF has scrambled to defend the interests of the UK and NATO.

"It demonstrates the efficiency and resilience of our personnel, aircraft and systems."

Last month, engineers announced that a new fleet of RAF aircraft called the Tempest warplane will be rolled out by 2035 and will be capable of being flown by humans or the in-built AI co-pilot.

It will be able to take over if the pilot is "stressed or overloaded" which it can detect by analysing data from smartwatches, heart rate monitors and other technology.

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