Stand off in the sky: RAF and German fighter jets intercept Russian spy plane near Baltic countries

17 April 2023, 16:54

The intelligence plane (top right, on the left) was intercepted by Typhoon jets, as was its Flanker (bottom right) escort
The intelligence plane (top right, on the left) was intercepted by Typhoon jets, as was its Flanker (bottom right) escort. Picture: Social media

By Will Taylor

RAF fighter jets joined German warplanes in intercepting Russian aircraft flying near Nato's Baltic members as tensions over Ukraine continue.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Days after it emerged an RAF intelligence plane was involved in a "near-shoot down" with Russian fighter jets, the British and German aircraft intercepted three Russian planes.

Among them was a Il-20 Coot-A intelligence plane which was flying from mainland Russia to Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave between the Baltics and Poland.

It was flying with an escort of Russian Flanker fighter jets, which escorted it near Estonia.

Wing Commander Maccoll, who commands the RAF's 140 Expeditionary Wing, said: "This was another demonstration of our readiness and commitment to react at speed to conduct a live intercept.

"These combined RAF and German Air Force intercepts continue to enhance NATO cohesion, ensuring seamless cooperation and understanding during these missions.

"Our allies and partners in the region should remain assured that NATO is here to stay, and the UK continues its commitment to collective defence of NATO Airspace."

An RAF pilot from IX (B) squadron said: "We often see Russian military aircraft flying over the Baltic Sea and so this was a routine intercept for us.

"Nevertheless, the importance of intercepting these aircraft and our commitment to the collective defence of NATO airspace remains steadfast and resolute.

"What this intercept has proven is that together with our German allies, we are able to act with speed and decisiveness to effectively ensure the Alliance's security."

Read more: Seconds from disaster: Russia 'nearly shot down RAF plane' but malfunction stopped missile attack

It comes days after a leaked document and US defence officials revealed how close an RAF intelligence aircraft came to being shot down.

The British surveillance aircraft, which had a crew on board, was flying over the Black Sea when it was intercepted by Russian fighter jets in September.

Two anonymous US defence officials said a Russian pilot misinterpreted what a radar operator on the ground told him, and believed he had permission to shoot it down.

The intelligence plane was intercepted
The intelligence plane was intercepted. Picture: Alamy

The Su-27 locked on to the Rivet Joint, but the missile did not launch properly, the officials told The New York Times.

Their revelations came after a trove of documents were leaked to an online chat room. A suspect, who is part of the Massachusetts National Guard, was arrested by FBI agents.

It is considered the worst US intelligence breach since Edward Snowden. One document described the RAF incident as a "near-shoot down".

Read more: Putin opponent Vladimir Kara-Murza sentenced to 25 years in jail in Russia for treason

The defence secretary, Ben Wallace, said in October that the encounter was "potentially dangerous" and a missile was released in the RAF jet's "vicinity".

But according to the officials, the incident was far more serious than was made out at the time.

A British defence official said: "A significant proportion of the content of these reports is untrue, manipulated, or both.

"We strongly caution against anybody taking the veracity of these claims at face value and would also advise them to take time to question the source and purpose of such leaks."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

A boy was pronounced dead at the scene in Ladbroke Grove

Gunman 'jumped from bushes to assassinate 15-year-old boy' on 'family fun day' at west London park

Search for murdered Muriel McKay's remains called off by police after 'unsuccessful' farm dig

Search for murdered Muriel McKay's remains called off by police after 'unsuccessful' farm dig

Nuclear submariner Marcus Gauntlett is under investigation

Royal Navy sailor accused of stealing secrets from nuclear submarine after 'documents found on phone'

Alex Dancyg and Yagev Buchshtab died while being held in Gaza.

Israel confirms deaths of two hostages in Gaza ahead of ceasefire talks


Labour could scrap two child benefit cap, Keir Starmer suggests ahead of backbench rebellion

Climate activists from Just Stop Oil march to protest against private jet flights and the proposed expansion of Farnborough Airport on January 27, 2024

Just Stop Oil threatens to disrupt summer holiday plans with latest airport campaign

Joey Barton charged over 'malicious online communications' about former England women's international Eni Aluko

Joey Barton charged after comparing former England Lioness Eni Aluko to 'Rose West' - as he slams 'Banana Republic'

Jack O'Sullivan

Parents of missing 23-year-old Jack O'Sullivan, who vanished nearly 4 months ago, say 'it’s getting worse & worse'

Declining profits are set to force Ryanair to cut ticket prices

Ryanair to slash summer fares as profits decline

Two Just Stop Oil protesters 'caused £52,000 of damage' after attempting to spray Taylor Swift's private jet with paint

Two Just Stop Oil protesters bailed after 'causing £52,000 of damage' attempting to spray Taylor Swift's private jet with paint

The girl's whole family died in the crash, along with a biker and pillion passenger

Girl, 11, orphaned as her entire family is killed in crash in West Yorkshire - as tributes paid to six victims

George, photographed by his mother

New picture of Prince George released as future king celebrates 11th birthday

Girl, 11, plunges 65ft to her death after 'wandering onto seventh floor balcony' of Majorca hotel as relatives slept

Girl, 12, plunges 65ft to her death after 'toppling from seventh floor balcony' of Majorca hotel as relatives slept

Will Bayley and Strictly partner Janette Manrara

Strictly star slams 'lack of duty of care' on the show as series left him with ‘horrific’ injury he’ll ‘never get over’

Donald Trump thinks Joe Biden never had Covid

Trump claims Biden 'never had COVID' and the president wanted to ‘get out’ ever since pair clashed at debate

King's Cross.

Great British Railways should be the start of a new era for our country’s transport network