PICTURES: RAF Typhoon intercepts Russian Tupolev Tu-95 bomber

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In a scene reminiscent of the Cold War, a Russian air force Tupolev Tu-95 bomber is pictured being intercepted by a Royal Air Force fighter before approaching too close to UK airspace on 17 August.

But for the first time, the aircraft providing so-called quick reaction alert (QRA) cover is a Eurofighter Typhoon F2 from the RAF's 11 Sqn - the unit tasked with leading the type's evolution into a multirole fighter also capable of performing ground-attack duties in Afghanistan from July 2008.


Russian bombers have been intercepted by UK fighters on several occasions so far this year, with their presence reflecting President Vladimir Putin's eagerness to underline Moscow's military capabilities as it stakes claim to Polar mineral resources and approaches national elections to take place early next year.

Previous meetings have been between Tu-95s and RAF Panavia Tornado F3 interceptors, with the latter gradually handing over QRA responsibility for the southern UK to Typhoons from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire. The latest encounter took place over the North Atlantic, according to the RAF.


As pictured, the standard Typhoon QRA fit comprises four MBDA ASRAAM short-range air-to-air missiles, four Raytheon AIM-120 AMRAAM medium-range air-to-air missiles and external fuel tanks for additional range. The images were taken by the pilot of a 3 Sqn Typhoon, with the unit currently sharing QRA duties with 11 Sqn.

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