The release published by the British Ministry of Defence states that yesterday night, two unidentified airborne objects were detected in the international airspace over the Atlantic, close to the British border. Eurofighter Typhoons, based at RAF Lossiemouth, intercepted the objects and identified them as the Russian Tu-160 bombers (NATO codename: Blackjack). According to the information received by Reuters, the incident involved two bomber aircraft.
The British fighters escorted the Russian bombers to the limits of the United Kingdom’s area of interest. Tu-160 bombers did not violate the British airspace.
We shall recall the fact that the number of incidents taking place in the international airspace, involving the Russian Air Force, has been significantly increased since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis. The Russian jets were flying without their transponders active, and without any prior information pertaining the flight plan released. This poses a serious threat for the civilian airliners.
The United Kingdom currently considers in the light of the Ukrainian and Middle East crises, to have more than 50 Eurofighter Typhoon Tranche 1 jets still remain in the active service. These aircraft were to be withdrawn, within the scope of the structural cuts in the Royal Air Force. According to the decision made back in 2010, these jets were to remain in service until the end of the current decade.
Tu-160 “Blackjack” bombers are currently involved in the Syrian air campaign, against the forces fighting against the al-Asad’s regime in Syria.