RAF Typhoon are jets scrambled to intercept two Russian bombers heading towards HMS Queen Elizabeth while it was on a exercise off Scottish coast
- RAF Typhoons were scrambled to intercept two Russian bombers near Norway
- Two Tupulev 160 bombers were heading in direction of HMS Queen Elizabeth
- £3billion aircraft carrier was off Scottish coast on NATO exercise Joint Warrior
Royal Air Force Typhoons were scrambled to intercept two Russian bombers heading towards Britain’s flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, according to reports.
The two Tupulev 160 bombers were said to be flying towards UK sovereign waters, in the direction of the £3billion aircraft carrier, which at the time was off the Scottish coast.
The huge ship – the joint largest in the Royal Navy’s history – is currently there on a training exercise as part of the UK’s new Carrier Strike Group.
The group, which includes US and Dutch navy ships, is in the final stages of exercise Joint Warrior – NATO‘s largest annual exercise.
An RAF source told the Sun that the bombers, known as Blackjacks and which were built to carry nuclear weapons, were not responding to air traffic control or broadcasting their location.
The source described the bombers, which flew towards the Shetland Islands before looping back up along the west coast of Norway, as a ‘hazard to other aviation’.
Royal Air Force jets were scrambled to intercept two Russian bombers heading towards Britain’s flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, according to reports
The two Tupulev 160 bombers (library image) were said to be flying towards UK sovereign waters, in the direction of the £3billion aircraft carrier, which at the time was off the Scottish coast
Speaking about the incident, which happened on Tuesday, an RAF spokesperson told the paper: ‘Typhoon fighters based at RAF Lossiemouth were scrambled against unidentified aircraft approaching the UK area of interest.’
‘We intercepted and escorted two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack long range strategic bomber aircraft.’
The RAF jets were supported by an air-to-air refueling vessel from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
At the time of the incident, HMS Queen Elizabeth was taking part in the NATO exercise, Joint Warrior, as part of the UK’s new Carrier Strike Group.
Earlier this month, the 930ft long aircraft carrier was seen leading a flotilla of destroyers and frigates from the UK, US and the Netherlands, together with two Royal Fleet Auxiliaries.
In total, 3,000 personnel from the UK, US and Netherlands were said to be involved.
At the time, HMS Queen Elizabeth was taking part in the NATO exercise, Joint Warrior, as part of the UK’s new Carrier Strike Group
HMS Queen Elizabeth embarked two squadrons of F-35B stealth jets, the UK’s 617 Squadron and US Marine Corps fighter attack squadron 211.
Alongside eight Merlin helicopters of 820 and 846 Naval Air Squadrons, it is the largest air group to operate from a Royal Navy carrier in more than thirty years, and the largest air group of fifth generation fighters at sea anywhere in the world, say the Royal Navy.
The task force is the largest assembled by a European Navy in almost 20 years.