RAF Typhoon fighter jets operating from the Ämari Air Base in Estonia were launched on Sunday, 28th July, to intercept a Russian IL-76 military transport aircraft that was flying close to the Estonian airspace.
According to the Royal Air Force (RAF), this is a routine NATO mission for the Typhoons, which provides reassurance that the UK is here to work in partnership with Estonia. As this latest Quick Reaction Alert demonstrates, the RAF is frequently called upon to use their world class skills and capabilities to help police and protect the skies over the Baltics, said Ben Wallace, UK Defence Secretary.
Our personnel deployed to Estonia and around the world are always ready to react to any scenario as we continue our commitment to our NATO allies, he added.
A Typhoon pilot from the XI(Fighter) Squadron, attached to 121 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW), was conducting a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) duty when the scramble was called:
We were scrambled to intercept an aircraft that was approaching the Estonian airspace from the south. We identified and monitored it as it transited close to NATO airspace. This is standard protocol for aircraft that might not be communicating with Air Traffic Control or on a recognised flight plan, said a pilot of the XI (F) Squadron. We continued to escort the transport aircraft as it transited in a north direction, away from the Estonian airspace, he added.