SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- Britain has scrambled RAF fighter jets for a second time this week after at least one Russian Bear bomber approached UK Airspace.
The Ministry of Defence said on Saturday that RAF Typhoons based at Lossiemouth in Scotland intercepted the Soviet-era Tupolev Tu-95 aircraft – also known as a Bear bomber –on Friday.
Images released with the statement showed one bomber, but the ministry declined to say how many aircraft were involved.
NATO earlier this week reported a spike in Russian military flights over the Black, Baltic and North seas and the Atlantic Ocean, with groups of Russian warplanes conducting large-scale manoeuvres in international airspace.
Tensions have been high since Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in March.
Incident follows Norwegian interception of two Russian bombers on Wednesday and comes as Nato warns of spike in activity.
The exercises prompted Nato to warn of an “unusual” increase in Russian military flights in European airspace.
The two Bears that neared Britain on Wednesday had been part of a larger formation of eight aircraft – including four Il-78 tanker planes – intercepted by Norwegian F-16 fighters in international airspace over the Norwegian Sea.
While six of the planes returned back towards Russia, the two Bears carried on towards the UK where they were picked up by Boulmer in Northumberland.
The bombers continued over the Atlantic to the west of Portugal, where they were intercepted by Portuguese air force F-16 fighters before turning back.
The Russian flight coincided with similar incidents over the Black Sea and the Baltic where Russian military formations were intercepted by Turkish fighters and Portuguese jets assigned to the Nato Baltic air-policing mission.
The distinctive Bear, which has two counter-rotating propellers on each engine, has been described as the 1950s equivalent of the US B-52. It was originally designed to carry two nuclear bombs to targets in the continental US.
More recent variants of the Bear have been used for maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare.
Nato said it had conducted more than 100 such intercepts of Russian aircraft this year – about three times as many as in 2013 before the confrontation with Moscow over separatist revolts in Ukraine soured relations.