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RAF Lossiemouth claims new intercept of Russian aircraft close to UK air space

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
RAF Lossiemouth is home to a team of QRA Typhoon multirole fighters which makes it the most strategic airbase in the UK

In the latest intercept of its kind, the Royal Air Force (RAF) claims it has deterred two Russian military aircraft from getting too close to British air space.

According to the RAF, two Typhoon fighter jets were scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth in north-east Scotland to intercept the Russian aircraft.

The Typhoon jets are part of a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) team based at the strategic RAF base primarily for the purpose of intercepting Russian military aircraft.

In keeping with recent similar incidents, the Typhoons allegedly intercepted a pair of Russian TU-142 Bear-F Maritime Reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft.

The Typhoon jets were reportedly joined by an RAF Voyager which provided air-to-air refueling. 

While RAF interceptions of Russian aircraft allegedly closing in on UK airspace is nothing new – they have been happening since the Cold War era – nonetheless they have increased in frequency over the past two years.

In April 2020, the commander of the RAF, Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, mocked the Russian aircraft as “relics of the Cold War” which supposedly pose a “hazard to civilian and military aircraft”.  

In a sign of RAF Lossiemouth’s exalted strategic importance to the UK, last month the Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced a jobs and capacity boost for the Scottish airbase amounting to £230 million.

The investment is set to create 106 new jobs at the airbase and will pave the way for the deployment of Poseidon maritime aircraft.

Currently RAF Lossiemouth only houses Typhoon multirole fighters as part of its QRA mission.

There is a political angle to the MoD investment as the expansion of RAF Lossiemouth is widely seen as a potential blow to the Scottish independence movement insofar as it deepens British military involvement in Scotland.

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