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Russian "spy" planes intercepted May 3rd

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Russian "spy" planes intercepted May 3rd

Old 10th May 2007, 09:47
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Russian "spy" planes intercepted May 3rd

The Times, May 10th 2007

Russian ‘spy’ planes put RAF on Cold War alert



Michael Evans, Defence Editor


The Cold War has made a surprise return in the form of two Russian Bear bombers. The aircraft flew towards British airspace during an exercise off Scotland to snoop on Royal Navy warships.
RAF sources said yesterday that it was such a rare occurrence that two Tornado F3 air defence aircraft were scrambled to see the aircraft off.
During the Cold War, Soviet Bear and Bison bombers regularly flew close to British airspace to test out Britain’s defence systems. RAF aircraft had to scramble every week to force the pilots to turn away.
However, the habit had largely died out since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
The two Bears were spotted on radar heading towards the Outer Hebrides during Exercise Neptune Warrior, which took place between April 22 and May 3.
The exercise involved multinational warships, submarines and aircraft and included live firing.
The Two Tornado F3s, on short-notice quick-reaction alert status at RAF Leuchars, in Fife, flew alongside the bombers until they turned away. The aircraft had flown from their base in Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula in the far north of Russia.
Squadron Leader Keith Wardlaw, a spokesman for the RAF, could not remember the last time such an encounter had taken place.
“The Russians obviously thought it might be worth coming through to have a look at what we were up to and probably take some photos,” Squadron Leader Wardlaw said.
He added: “It’s a throwback to the Cold War when they used to fly in regularly to poke and prod at the edges of British airspace and test our reaction times.”
He said that it was normal to let such aircraft “know we’re there by pulling up alongside them, and they left quietly”. The incident lasted about 20 minutes.
Paul Jackson, Editor of Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft, said that, although old, the aircraft were still effective.
“This aircraft dates back to the 1950s and although the air-frame might look dated it is still highly effective in terms of long-range maritime reconnaissance,” he said.
“They used to fly over the North Sea and the Greenland Gap daily during the Cold War, and while it’s rare today, it’s by no means a unique occurrence. It’s nice to know the Russians are out and about again.”
Mr Jackson said that the scrambling of the Tornadoes was nothing out of the ordinary. “The exercise was in international waters and the Russians have got just as much right to be there as we have. We do it to them, they do it to us. All the RAF are doing is telling them, ‘We could do this for real if we wanted to, so go and tell your mates back home’.”
From July, the Tornado role is to be taken over by the new Eurofighter/Typhoon. However, the arrival of Russian Bears is unlikely to be their most burdensome task.
These days, RAF personnel on scrambling duty spend most of their time on counter-terrorist missions, checking out commercial airliners approaching Britain in ways that arouse suspicion, either because they have taken the wrong flight path or because the pilot has not contacted ground control.
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Old 10th May 2007, 09:58
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Good for them! Gald to see the old Bears still running well. Maybe they were looking at where they could lay a new underlying natural gas pipe to Europe.
Much hipe is made made when they fly this way, just imagine how many times the "west" flies to their side with UAV's on a daily basis.
I think they were out for a stroll into the North See and the west must have seen them coming from a long way off. Just the Tornado's couldn't afford to meet them earlier!
Do they fly random tracks?

Last edited by sidestick driver; 10th May 2007 at 10:00. Reason: spelling again!!!
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Old 10th May 2007, 10:00
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http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=275230
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Old 10th May 2007, 10:21
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Does not surprise me. When we entered the UK airspace out of coms (French ATC error! ) The Tornados were airborne within 4 minutes, so I was told by the Wing Commander when we landed. QRA are on the ball.

Went to listen on guard and the Tornados were returned to base.
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