RAF Typhoons scrambled to intercept Russian fighter jets flanking spy plane

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    Royal Air Force jets were scrambled to intercept a Russian spy plane and two fighter jets soaring over a NATO border in Estonia.

    On Friday, April 14, the Typhoon from the RAF’s IX Squadron joined the German Air Force’s 71 "Richtofen" on the eastern flank of NATO’s border.

    It is believed that one of the planes was a Russian Air Force IL-20 Coot-A intelligence aircraft.

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    Reports suggest it was flying from mainland Russia to the enclave of Kaliningrad, which is sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania and only around 230 miles south of the Estonian border.

    The Sun reported that the intelligence aircraft was met by two Russian SU-27 Flanker-B fighter jets based in Kaliningrad and escorted the north-west area of the Estonian flight information region.

    The Typhoons were stationed in Estonia as part of a joint UK-Germany operation, Operation Azotize.

    A pilot involved in the operation 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.

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    "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."

    In March, the UK-German team intercepted a Russian Ilyushin Il-78 Midas aerial refuelling tanker aircraft that was flying close to Estonian airspace.

    The Typhoons were then tasked to intercept a Russian Antonov 148 military transport aircraft.

    "NATO continues to form the bedrock of our collective security. This joint UK and German deployment in the Baltics clearly demonstrates our collective resolve whilst demonstrating our combined strength," Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappy said at the time.

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