Around noon on January 12, 2020, a number of British citizens were surprised by the sound of a loud explosion that rattled their windows. Local emergency services received a series of calls, some reporting minor damages to their home from the detonation, but fortunately, no injuries.
The reason for the noise was later explained by the British Royal Air Force (RAF): a Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet had been authorized to fly at supersonic speed in order to intercept an unresponsive Bombardier Global Express of the private German charter airline FAI rent-a-jet.
“The RAF can confirm Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon aircraft were launched this afternoon from RAF Coningsby to intercept a civilian aircraft that had lost communications; subsequently, communications were re-established, the aircraft was intercepted and safely escorted to Stansted,” an RAF spokesperson told Cambridgeshire Live. “The Typhoon aircraft were authorized to transit at supersonic speed for operational reasons.”
The jet, which had taken off from Nuremberg Airport (NUE), diverted to London Stansted Airport (STN). It has since left to continue its journey towards the Caribbean.
A similar situation took place across the Channel on September 30, 2020, when a Dassault Rafale of the French Air Force intercepted an unresponsive Embraer 145 operated by Amelia International. The loud explosion was heard in Paris and its outskirts in a radius of about 100 kilometers (62 miles). The sonic boom even briefly interrupted a French Open tennis match on the Roland-Garros courts.