RAF jets scramble to intercept unresponsive Russian military plane after US drone downed in Black Sea

15 March 2023, 09:34 | Updated: 15 March 2023, 14:23

The RAF scrambled to intercept an unresponsive bomber
The RAF scrambled to intercept an unresponsive bomber. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

RAF jets scrambled to intercept a Russian military aircraft after it failed to respond to air traffic control in Estonia.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The IL-78 Midas refuelling aircraft was flying between St Petersburg and Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave in eastern Europe, near Estonian airspace.

British and German planes raced to meet the plane after it did not communicate with air traffic control – the first time this kind of operation was carried out by two countries.

It comes just after a Russian fighter jet and a US drone collided in the Black Sea.

The two jets escorted the Midas and then intercepted an An-148 airliner that also passed close to Estonia's airspace.

An unnamed pilot from the RAF's IX (Bomber) Squadron said: "We were scrambled to intercept an aircraft that was approaching Estonian airspace. We identified and monitored it as it transited close to Nato airspace.

"Any aircraft that are not communicating with Air Traffic Control or on a recognised flight plan will be intercepted by us to ensure we know who they are and maintain flight safety for all airspace users.

"As a fighter pilot this was a routine business, even though I was flying alongside a German colleague. It is clear that all of our training and hard work paid off as we seamlessly operated together."

The RAF is going to be responsible for policing Baltic airspace over Nato’s members there from April, taking over from the German air force.

Read more: Russian ambassador accuses US of 'act of provocation' and denies Kremlin was behind downing of American Reaper drone

The "Midas", front, pictured refuelling a bomber, was intercepted by the RAF
The "Midas", front, pictured refuelling a bomber, was intercepted by the RAF. Picture: Alamy

Russian fighter jet hit American drone over Black Sea, says US military

But tensions between the alliance and Russia have increased even further after the jet and drone crash in the Black Sea.

A Russian fighter jet struck the propeller of a US surveillance drone over the Black Sea, causing American forces to bring down the unmanned aerial vehicle in international waters, the US military said.

The White House said the incident, which involved two Su-27 jets and a US Reaper, was "unsafe and unprofessional".

Russia's ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, said: "We view this incident as a provocation."

He was summoned by the US State Department to answer for the incident.

"What would the be reaction of the United States if you see such a Russian drone very close to, for example, San Francisco or New York?" Mr Antonov said.

"For me it's clear, for you as well."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Gavin Plumb plotted to abduct and murder Holly Willoughby

'Depraved loner' Gavin Plumb given life sentence for 'vile' plot to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby

Forensics investigators at the scene in Bushey

Man, 26, arrested on suspicion of triple crossbow murder after three women found dead at Hertfordshire home

Brits face a weekend washout as thunderstorms hit the southwest.

Brits face horror start to weekend as Met Office issues eight-hour thunderstorm warning

Security guard Gavin Plumb has been found guilty of plotting to kidnap, rape and murder television presenter Holly Willoughby.

'Depraved and vile' plot to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby has had 'life-changing' impact on star

The former president has expressed his concern over Biden's ability to beat Donald Trump.

Obama 'concerned' as pressure mounts on Joe Biden to pull out of presidential race in wake of Putin gaffe

Jay Slater vanished in Tenerife on June 17

'Significant' new clue in Jay Slater mystery as investigator shares update with police

Izzet Eren was shot dead

Masked gunman kills Turkish gang boss in 'revenge hit' after girl, 9, shot in botched drive-by at London restaurant

LBC met with two budding England stars at Harry Kane's former school.

Moment LBC met future England stars who attend the same school as Harry Kane

A section of the M25 is set to close this weekend

M25 stretch to close entirely this weekend, amid fears of Heathrow chaos, with other roads set to be 'incredibly busy'

A vigil was held for the three victims on Wednesday's suspected crossbow attack.

Police fear crossbow 'killer' Kyle Clifford held John Hunt's family 'for hours' before their deaths

A life-saving drug used by tens of thousands of people with cancer and Cystic Fibrosis is facing severe supply issues

UK 'pretty much out' of life-saving drug Creon - as 3 in 10 unable to pick up prescription due to medicine shortages

Joe Biden referred to Ukraine's president - as President Putin - before correcting himself while on stage

Joe Biden defiant despite calling Ukrainian leader Zelenskyy 'President Putin', as calls grow for him to stand down

Izzet Erin, the boss of the Tottenham Turks, was shot several times in the head outside a cafe in Moldova

Boss of Tottenham Turks gang behind drive-by shooting of girl, nine, at London restaurant assassinated in Moldova

A group of people thought to be migrants crossing the Channel in a small boat traveling from the coast of France and heading in the direction of Dover, Kent. Picture date: Tuesday August 29, 2023.

Four migrants die attempting to cross English Channel

Two worshippers have been attacked at a gurdwara in Kent

Horror as two Sikh worshippers 'stabbed with large knife' at Kent gurdwara, with teen boy arrested for attempted murder

A top candidate has turned down the job of leading the Border Security Command

Blow to Starmer as former top police office turns down job smashing gangs that run Channel migrant boat crossings