British and French military jets are scrambled to the North Sea amid reports of Russian bombers flying close to Britain
- British and French military planes reportedly circling in the North Sea
- Security sources say they were investigating Russian airforce planes
- Ministry of Defence have declined to comment on the unexplained activity
British and French military aircraft were scrambled to the North Sea today amid reports Russian planes were approaching UK airspace.
An RAF Voyager refueling jet circled off the coast of Northumbria for more than three hours after taking off from Brize Norton airbase shortly before midday.
It is thought the aircraft may have been supporting Typhoon fighter jets patrolling UK airspace, although the Ministry of Defence has declined to confirm this.
A security source told the Reuters news agency that a French fighter and support planes were also sent up to investigate ‘suspected Russian fighter aircraft’.
Russian security sites meanwhile reported a group of up to eight Russian planes flying towards Britain from the Barents Sea.
An RAF Voyager has been circling above the North Sea amid reports a group of Russian aircraft were flying towards UK airspace. File photo
A flight pattern of the RAf refueling plane shows is circling over the North Sea. It is believed it was supporting Typhoon jets patrolling UK airspace
It is thought the plane was supporting RAF Typhoons from the Lossiemouth base. File photo
A security group based in Washington DC meanwhile suggested ‘six Russian bombers and two aerial tankers’ flew over the North Sea.
Earlier this month, British, French and German fighter jets simulated flight interceptions over Western Europe as part of NATO drills to deter Russian planes from entering allied airspace.
Fighter pilots carrying air-to-air missiles from 10 NATO nations took turns to simulate the interception of a potential enemy plane en route to Spain.
The team performed visual inspections of the aircraft’s status by hovering off the wings at speeds of 560 mph.
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Around 60 Nato jets, mainly from European allies, are currently on alert to defend alliance airspace, as NATO deals with a dramatic increase in Russian air activity on its borders since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
In 2016, there was a record 870 interceptions in the Baltics alone.
Russia has cranked up the pressure this summer, holding the huge ‘Vostok 2018’ wargames in the country’s eastern regions.
Nato will hold its biggest exercise since 2002 in October and November in Norway, called Trident Juncture, and involving non-NATO Finland and Sweden, with more than 40,000 troops.
Russian websites suggested military planes had taken off from bases near Moscow and headed up over the Arctic circle towards the UK
Russian sites claimed Tupolev Tu-95 bombers were among the group of Russian planes although this has not been confirmed. File photo
Russian websites claimed Tupolev Tu-160, so-called ‘Blackjack bombers’ were also in the air
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