ROYAL Air Force Typhoon jets scrambled to intercept Russian Bear aircraft near UK airspace over the North Sea today.
The Typhoon jets launched from Lossiemouth in Scotland just before 8am, and were later joined by an RAF Voyager tanker which provided refuelling for the planes.
Two Russian Bear planes were intercepted. Bear planes are used in anti-submarine and maritime patrol missions, the RAF said.
Russian war planes can be a hazard as they do not "squawk" – or transmit codes revealing their altitude and intentions.
They also do not talk to UK air traffic controllers, meaning other planes have to be re-routed to avoid a disastrous accident.
The Typhoons shadowed the Russian Bears closely while keeping an eye on their movements.
NATO allies also monitored the Russian planes.
The Typhoons eventually returned to the RAF base at Lossiemouth early this afternoon.
A RAF spokesperson said: "The QRA crew did a fantastic job, locating aircraft that were not easy to detect very quickly.
"Again, the RAF has scrambled to defend the interests of the UK and NATO.
"It demonstrates the efficiency and resilience of our personnel, aircraft and systems."
RAF Typhoons are used for quick reaction alerts in the airspace over the UK.
They have two Eurojet EJ200 turbo fans.
They are over 52-feet long and have a wingspan of more than 36 feet.
Typhoons have a loaded weight of around 21,000kg, and can reach a maximum speed of Mach 1.8.
They have a maximum altitude of 55,000 feet, and can reach Mach 1.5 speed at 35,000 feet in the air in under two minutes and 30 seconds.
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