RAF Lossiemouth jets on an air policing mission in Romania have been scrambled for the first time.
Typhoon aircraft were scrambled today in response to “several” Russian fighters entering Nato airspace over the Black Sea.
North-east air crews arrived in the country on deployment in April as part of a mission to protect Eastern European skies from potential intruders.
Several Russian fighters tracked by Typhoons
Several Russian SU-24 Fencer and SU-30 Flanker fighters were tracked entering a Romanain-controlled area of international airspace today.
The aircraft had neither filed flight plans nor contacted air traffic controllers.
The Typhoon jets were launched from a base near Constanta on the Black Sea coast to intercept the Russians.
Wing Commander Stephen Lamping, commanding officer of 121 Expeditionary Air Wing, said: “Today’s successful first scramble demonstrates that we are fully integrated into the Nato air policing system from our operating base here in Romania.
“This was a routine operation that the RAF has a great deal of experience in and was no different to what other Nato aircraft do in other areas on a regular basis.”
The Russian aircraft left the Romanian-controlled area before the Typhoons came within visual range of them.
Why is the RAF in Romania?
Four RAF Lossiemouth Typhoons and about 180 personnel from bases across the UK are currently on deployment in Romania as part of Operation Biloxi.
The mission was first introduced in 2014 following the annexation of Crimea in Ukraine by Russia.
Nato nations take turns in operating air policing in the area on behalf of allies without the capabilities to do it themselves.
The operation mirrors the QRA (quick reaction alert) function performed from RAF Lossiemouth, where Typhoon jets stand constantly on alert to respond to potential threats approaching the UK.