Last February, two Tu-95 bombers intercepted over the Channel were found to be carrying a nuclear missile designed to destroy Trident submarines.
Cockpit conservations confirming the bomber’s nuclear payload were intercepted by a Norwegian military listening post and passed to the Ministry of Defence.
The missile was not armed, and the aircraft’s crew would have required a direct order from Vladimir Putin before making it live.
Since then, RAF jets have been scrambled to respond to several more incursions.
The high number of intercepted Russian military aircraft has raised fresh questions over the threat they pose to the UK.
Russia’s TU-96 bomber, known by its Nato reporting name ‘bear’, is regularly flown close to British airspace on training and reconnaissance missions.
The bombers, which are capable of launching six KH-555 Air Launched Cruise Missiles with nuclear or conventional warheads, are also deployed to send a signal to the West.
Each rocket can reach a speed of 1,000mph and has a range of 1,500 miles.
Full article: Is Russia flying NUCLEAR missiles over the Channel? Fears over Putin’s jets in UK airspace (Express)