Saturday, May 12, 2007

Russian bombers approach British airspace

On May 10, the Times reported that
The Cold War has made a surprise return in the form of two Russian Bear bombers. The aircraft flew towards British airspace during an exercise off Scotland to snoop on Royal Navy warships.

RAF sources said yesterday that it was such a rare occurrence that two Tornado F3 air defence aircraft were scrambled to see the aircraft off.

During the Cold War, Soviet Bear and Bison bombers regularly flew close to British airspace to test out Britain’s defence systems. RAF aircraft had to scramble every week to force the pilots to turn away.

However, the habit had largely died out since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

The two Bears were spotted on radar heading towards the Outer Hebrides during Exercise Neptune Warrior, which took place between April 22 and May 3.

The exercise involved multinational warships, submarines and aircraft and included live firing.
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