UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon fighter jets currently deployed in Lithuania from 6 Squadron, RAF Lossiemouth, intercepted a Russian Il-20 COOT A ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) aircraft operating over the Baltic Sea, according to the RAF press release on Monday.
The Coot was monitored as it flew through the Lithuanian Flight Information Region (FIR) in international airspace “to ensure the safety of other airspace users as Russian Military aircraft do not file flight plans in accordance with standard international practice”.
RAF Typhoons are currently deployed Siauliai Air Base in Lithuania as part of 135 Expeditionary Air Wing for Op AZOTIZE, the UK’s contribution to the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission ensuring the security of the skies above Lithuania the other Baltic States. RAF Typhoons of No.6 Squadron, from RAF Lossiemouth, are working alongside a detachment of Spanish F-18 fighters of Ejercito Del Aire.
“This is a routine reaction for 135 Expeditionary Air Wing and the 6 Squadron Typhoons, who are operating from Siauliai Air Base alongside the Spanish Air Force to conduct the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission,” said the RAF statement.
The RAF pilot photographed above was Squadren Leader Metcalfe.
“This sortie is the latest demonstration of the enduring allied partnerships across the NATO missions for the safety and integrity of the Baltic airspace and also shows the UK’s commitment to the security of the region,” the RAF said.
The Typhoons approached the Russian formation to identify its composition and established it was an IL-38 ‘MAY’ Maritime Patrol Aircraft, being escorted by two Su-27 Flanker B fighter jets.
This was the first time in recent years that the Royal Air Force have seen and intercepted a ‘MAY’ which was operating alongside a Russian OSCAR class submarine which the Typhoons photographed on the surface as it transited towards the west across the Baltic Sea, according to Defence Blog.