Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023


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RAF and German airforce intercept three Russian jets in Baltic

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Fighter jets from the RAF and German Air Force have intercepted three Russian aircraft that were flying over the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea.

Eurofighter Typhoons from the RAF’s IX (B) Squadron and the German Air Force’s 71 ‘Richtofen’ Wing were sent to intercept the aircraft.

RAF and German Air Force pilots have been working together to protect NATO’s eastern border in a joint operation as part of Operation Azotize.

During this latest incident, one of the aircraft was identified as a Russian Air Force IL-20 Coot-A intelligence aircraft, which was transiting from mainland Russia to the Kaliningrad enclave.

The RAF reports that the Coot-A was escorted by two Russian SU-27 Flanker-B fighter jets based in Kaliningrad.

In a statement on Monday, an RAF Pilot with 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.


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The IL-20 Coot-A is a specialized variant of the IL-20 aircraft used for signal intelligence purposes, and was reportedly “flying in a safe and professional manner”.

The RAF and German Typhoon fighter jets escorted both the Coot-A and the accompanying Flanker-Bs as they travelled through the Estonian flight information region.

Eventually, the responsibility was handed over to Saab Gripen fighters from the Swedish Air Force.

Wing Commander Maccoll, Commanding Officer of 140 Expeditionary Air 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.”

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