This is the moment RAF Typhoons intercept Russian fighter jets flying over NATO airspace in a tense standoff.
RAF Typhoons took off from Amar Airbase in Estonia to visually identify several Russian jets flying over the Baltic Sea.
The Russian plane remained in international airspace and flew “safely and temporarily”, according to the Royal Air Force.
Typhoon fighters, currently deployed in NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission, intercepted one An-72 COALER and two Su-27 FLANKER Bs.
The Typhoons have returned to Amari Air Base to continue NATO’s air policing mission.
It comes after an RAF Typhoon attempted to intercept a Russian warplane flying near Estonian airspace in March.
This was the first time that the British and German air forces conducted a joint NATO air policing operation.
The response saw British and German Typhoon jets respond to a Russian Il-78 air-to-air refueling aircraft between St Petersburg and Kaliningrad.
It was escorted after it failed to communicate with Estonian air traffic control.
Allied fighter jets also intercepted AN-148 aircraft from Russia.
After the interception, two Norwegian F-35s were quickly deployed to target two Russian warplanes, a MiG-31 and a NOR F-35, in international airspace.
It came as British pilots flew joint air policing missions with the German air force in Estonia for the first time, as the UK prepared to take over the leadership of NATO missions in the country bordering Russia.
The Ministry of Defense stressed the “routine” nature of the mission, but it comes amid tensions between the West and Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.
Minister of Armed Forces James Hippey said. “NATO continues to form the basis of our collective security.
“This joint UK-German deployment to the Baltic states clearly demonstrates our collective resolve to challenge any potential threat to NATO’s borders while demonstrating our combined strength.”
And a month later, on Friday April 14, the Royal Air Force intercepted a Russian spy plane and two fighter jets that were spotted flying near NATO airspace.
The warplanes were dispatched by the RAF and German Typhoons protecting the eastern flank of the NATO border near Estonia.
Fighters of the IX squadron of the RAF and the 71 “Richtoffen” wing of the German air force were shot down to intercept the unidentified aircraft.
One of the planes was later identified as a Russian Air Force Il-20 Coot-A reconnaissance plane en route from mainland Russia to the Kaliningrad enclave.
It was met by two Russian Su-27 Flanker-B fighters stationed in Kaliningrad, which escorted the spy plane over the northwestern territory of the Estonian flight information zone.
The RAF said it was an important intercept.
The pilot involved in the operation said. “We often see Russian warplanes flying over the Baltic Sea, and this was a common disruption for us.
“Nevertheless, the importance of intercepting these aircraft and our commitment to the collective defense of NATO airspace remains steadfast and resolute.
“What this failure has proven is that, together with our German allies, we are able to act with speed and determination to effectively ensure the security of the Alliance.”
The RAF and the German Air Force jointly operate Eurofighter Typhoon fighters from Amar Air Base in Estonia.
This was just one of the joint intercepts the countries conducted as part of NATO’s Baltic air policing mission, Operation Azotize.
The combined forces have been in flight since March.
Tensions also rose on NATO’s shared border with Russia after Finland joined the alliance in April.
The Nordic country was officially welcomed on April 4, taking the bloc just 78 miles from Vladimir Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg.
Hours before the historic move, Russia warned that Belarusian warplanes had been upgraded to carry out nuclear strikes.
Moscow’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu also warned that Finland’s entry into the military alliance and the move to increase NATO’s combat capabilities increase the risk of conflict.