British Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets intercepted and turned away two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers as they were approaching the British airspace. They had been visually identified beforehand by F-16 fighter jets from the Royal Norwegian Air Force.
After being detected by NATO air defense radars, the two Blackjacks triggered a Quick Reaction Alert interception by F-16 fighter jets of the Luftforsvaret, the Royal Norwegian Air Force, located in Bodø Airbase. The strategic bombers were visually identified and tailed as they were cruising south, towards the United Kingdom’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ).
As the Blackjacks maintained their flight, live-armed RAF Eurofighter Typhoons scrambled from their temporary base at Leuchars Station to intercept the two Blackjacks. Their home base, RAF Station Lossiemouth, was undergoing runway renovation from July to October 2020. An A330 MRTT Voyager took off from RAF Brize Norton to support the fighter jets.
“The Control and Reporting Centre at RAF Scampton routed us directly to the Tu-160 Blackjacks so that we could take over the mission from our Norwegian allies,” one of the Typhoon pilots reported. “Air to air refuelling from an RAF Voyager ensured we were able to stay on task until the two Blackjacks departed from the UK’s area of interest.”
The Blackjack bombers subsequently turned away from the British airspace, escorted again by the Luftforsvaret F-16s. As for the Typhoons, they landed in their permanent base in RAF Lossiemouth.