In yet another incident that may feel like World War 3 but seems to actually be part of Cold War 2, two Russian nuclear bombers steered away from their planned routes to fly dangerously close to British air space, over a region that United Kingdom defense officials called the U.K. “area of interest.”
The bombers followed the disturbing pattern of many Russian military aircraft that have confronted fighter jets from NATO, Britain, and even Japan over the past year, in that they did not file a flight plan, appeared to fly with their transponders switched off, and failed to communicate with air traffic controllers in the ground.
But the RAF fighter pilots flew close enough to the Russian bombers that they could communicate with visual hand signals.
- 26 Russian aircraft ran ‘military manoeuvres’ in 24 hours including two Bear bombers followed by RAF fighters
- Nato steps up its defences as it says two planes near Britain did not file flight plans or contact controllers
- Alliance reported ‘unusual’ activity after intercepting 100 Russian planes in 2014 – triple the number in 2013
Nato has sounded a warning after 26 Russian bombers, tankers and fighter jets on military exercises were intercepted around Europe in just 24 hours.
Jets were scrambled by the RAF and allies in Germany, Portugal and Turkey after the ‘unusual’ spike in activity, which saw two giant Tu-95 Bear H bombers fly close to Britain yesterday.
The alliance said Russia had conducted ‘significant military manoeuvres in European airspace’ – though it then added none of the planes had strayed into any specific country’s territory.
The two Bear bombers had been part of an eight-plane formation which was first intercepted by Norwegian F-16s over at 2am yesterday. Continue reading
MOSCOW — NATO said Wednesday that it had intercepted a large number of Russian aircraft flying close to European airspace in the past two days, in an “unusual” series of incidents that brought Russian bombers as far afield as Portugal.
The aircraft — at least 19 in all — offered reminders of Russian air power at a time of the worst relations between the West and Russia since the Cold War. Russian military aircraft have significantly increased their activity in Europe since the conflict in Ukraine began earlier this year, with NATO scrambling to intercept aircraft more than 100 times in 2014. But a NATO official said the scale of the latest incidents was the most provocative this year.
Over the Atlantic Ocean and the North, Black and Baltic seas, Russian bombers, fighter jets and tanker aircraft were detected flying in international airspace, NATO said. There were no incursions into national airspace, a violation of sovereignty that would have significantly amplified the seriousness of the four incidents, three of which took place on Wednesday.
“We’re raising it as an unusual level of activity,” said Lt. Col. Jay Janzen, a spokesman for NATO’s military command in Mons, Belgium. “The flights we’ve seen in the last 24 hours, the size of those flights and some of the flight plans are definitely unusual.”
Scientists detected about 300 earthquakes in the area around the Bardarbunga volcano since Tuesday, which could herald an eruption.
The volcano, in the north-west region of Iceland’s Vatnajokull glacier, could be set to spew out a huge ash cloud.
It said: “It cannot be ruled out that the seismic activity in Bardarbunga could lead to a volcanic eruption.”