RAF in action across Europe in support of NATO allies

RAF Fighter Jets, Surveillance and Refuelling aircraft have been in action across Europe recently in support of NATO allies.

RAF missions included escorting US strategic bombers and scrambling twice to monitor Russian planes operating around the Baltic Nations airspace.

During the early morning of 15 June, Typhoons from RAF Coningsby met up with two US Air Force (USAF) B-52 bombers off the North of Scotland as they arrived from their base in the USA to conduct a long-range strategic training mission in the annual NATO BALTOPs exercise in the Baltic region.

The Typhoons welcomed the B-52s as they entered UK airspace and then escorted them across the North Sea as they were refuelled by USAF KC-135 tankers from RAF Mildenhall. The Typhoons from XI(F) Sqn were supported by a Voyager tanker from RAF Brize Norton, with coordination being provided by RAF Sentry and Sentinel aircraft from RAF Waddington.

As the B-52s from the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota left Danish airspace, they conducted additional training with French Mirage 2000 and then RAF Typhoon jets from the Baltic Air Policing mission as they flew over Latvia and Estonia.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “NATO remains the best guarantor of our collective security and we continue to stand alongside our allies in the Baltics. That is why, despite the ongoing pandemic, the RAF’s participation in this multinational exercise is vital for enhancing Allied capabilities and demonstrating our combined strength.”

The following day Typhoons from the RAF Lossiemouth based 6 Sqn deployed in Lithuania, switched from the BALTOPS exercise to intercept a SU-24 Fencer E and two SU-35 Flanker M Russian aircraft operating off the Baltic coast. This was followed on the 18 June by another Typhoon scramble to deter and intercept a Russian IL-20 COOT A intelligence gathering aircraft over the Baltic Sea.

© MoD Crown Copyright 2020