Thanks to the Royal Air Force for releasing some great Crown Copyright images of a quick reaction alert mission conducted by its Leuchars-based 6 Sqn on 23 April.
A pair of Eurofighter Typhoons were launched “to intercept two unknown aircraft approaching the NATO Air Policing Area from the north,” the service says. It was probably no great surprise to the pilots involved that these turned out to be Russian Tu-95 ‘Bear H’ strategic bombers, conducting a routine training sortie in international airspace.
Supported by an A330 Voyager tanker from RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, the Typhoons followed the Bears for some time, before handing them over to Royal Danish Air Force F-16s as the Russian aircraft headed towards Norwegian airspace.
The Tu-95 remains a really impressive looking beast, despite its age. Russia’s air force has an active fleet of around 58 of the type, according to our MiliCAS database.
It’s worth noting that the RAF’s northern QRA response time should theoretically get a little bit shorter from the middle of this year, as its Scottish-based Typhoons are being relocated from Leuchars near Edinburgh to Lossiemouth near Inverness. And we can probably expect the odd Bear or two to test out that theory not too long after the switch takes place.