UK
14/05/2015 12:16 BST | Updated 14/05/2015 13:59 BST

UK Typhoon Fighter Jets Intercept Yet More Russian Bombers Heading Towards Britain

Two Typhoon fighter jets were launched from RAF Lossiemouth to intercept Russian bombers heading towards the UK, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.

The Russian Bear aircraft were escorted away from Britain's area of interest but at no stage crossed into UK sovereign airspace.

A spokesman said: "RAF Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighter aircraft were launched today from RAF Lossiemouth after unidentified aircraft were tracked flying towards UK airspace.

russian bear

A grab from a video shot from inside the cockpit of a Tu-95 Bear long-range bomber similar to the aircraft intercepted by RAF Typhoons in the skies off the coast of Cornwall in Feburary

"The aircraft were identified as Russian Bear aircraft which were escorted by the RAF Typhoon fighters until they were out of the UK area of interest.

"At no time did the Russian military aircraft cross into UK sovereign airspace."

The RAF Typhoons were operating under a Nato command.

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The Russian planes were spotted flying north of Scotland towards the UK. They were in international airspace throughout the incident.

The Bear bombers were not considered a threat at any time.

The incident is the latest in a string of approaches to Britain by Russian planes and ships in recent months.

In April, Typhoons out of Lossiemouth again intercepted Bear bombers flying near UK airspace, hours after HMS Argyll was deployed to monitor a destroyer and two other ships from the country as they passed through the English Channel.

Putin's Long-Range Bombers Could Collide With British Civilian Aircraft

Concerns have grown over the appearance of Russian long-range Bear bombers off Bournemouth and the coast of Cornwall.

In Feburary, former armed forces head Lord Stirrup said: "We are seeing the possibility of mid-air collision not between, I think, RAF and Russian aircraft but between Russian aircraft and civilian aircraft increasing."

On Monday, David Learmount, operations and safety editor of Flightglobal publication, said the danger of such collisions existed, particularly as the Russian planes tended to switch their radio frequency identification transponders off on certain missions.

He went on: "There is a risk. Aircraft can be tracked through their transponders but it's unlikely that the Russians flying close to the UK would have their transponders on. This would mean the civil air traffic controllers at their Swanwick (Hampshire) headquarters could not track these Russian planes."

He said: "Our military should be able to track them but the risk of a collision exists, especially as these kind of Russian flights are growing in number."

Speaking about the Russian flights Lord Stirrup said: "They are becoming more aggressive. These aircraft - Russian Bears for example - are not going on these very flights simply as joy rides. They are mission rehearsals."

A spokesman for British airline pilots' organisation Balpa said in Feburary: "Pilots are concerned about these infringements and take confidence from the vigilance and swift response demonstrated by the RAF, supported by the UK radar infrastructure and incident protocols."

The following images provided by the MoD are of two Russian surveillance planes that were detected off the coast of Scotland in April 2014.

Photo galleryRussian Surveillance Planes See Gallery