Tensions Mount Between Countries
As ANN recently reported,
Russia seems bent on reasserting its place on the global stage of
aerial warfare. The former Soviet Union recently stepped up
surveillance flights of Cold War-era Tu-95 "Bear" bombers, to the
chagrin of the United States and NATO.
Last Friday, two Royal Air Force jets were scrambled last Friday
to intercept another bomber after it came a little too close to
entering United Kingdom airspace over the north Atlantic. UK Sky
News reports two Eurofighter Typhoon interceptors shadowed the Cold
War-era reconnaissance aircraft when it appeared unannounced and
brushed UK airspace. The surveillance aircraft turned back just
prior to actually entering UK airspace.
"RAF Typhoons from Numbers 3(F) and XI Squadrons launched to
shadow a Russian Bear-H aircraft over the North Atlantic Ocean on
Friday 17 August 2007," said the Ministry of Defense.
According to The Australian, relations between Russia and
Britain have recently been deteriorating. There have been several
incidents where Russian submarines have moved too close to British
shores and incidents in Royal Navy ships and Russian sub contacts
There are suggestions Russia might be testing the UKs air
detection systems and response times and levels, according to the
London Daily Telegraph.
Tensions between the two countries have reportedly been strained
since the murder of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in
London. That tension intensified as the Bear bombers moved towards
This is the first time Russian aircraft threatened to penetrate
British airspace since President Vladimir Putin issued an order for
bombers to resume worldwide, long-range patrols, ending the 15-year
suspension of bomber flights.
Although a dozen Typhoons are now at the ready at RAF Coningsby,
it will be at least another year before they are ready for
air-to-ground combat missions, according to RAF chiefs.
The more than $133 million Typhoons replaced the RAF's fleet of
aging Tornado F3 aircraft. Remaining F3s are currently assigned to
RAF Leuchars in Scotland and will protect the northern UK for the
next five to six months before they are replaced, as well.