RAF scrambles fighter jets to 'unidentified aircraft' approaching UK airspace

Typhoons take off from RAF Lossiemouth with Meteor air-to-air missiles for first time

Chris Baynes
Monday 10 December 2018 18:47
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A Typhoon fighter jet takes off from RAF Lossiemouth
A Typhoon fighter jet takes off from RAF Lossiemouth

RAF fighter jets have been scrambled in response to “unidentified aircraft” approaching UK airspace.

The Typhoons took off from RAF Lossiemouth on Monday morning armed for the first time with the latest Meteor air-to-air missile.

They were launched in a “quick reaction alert” mission as a “precautionary measure”, said the Ministry of Defence (MoD.)

However, no intercept took place and the jets subsequently returned to the base in Moray.

The MoD gave no further details about unidentified aircraft.

RAF Typhoons are kept in a constant state of readiness to defend UK airspace and have been scrambled several times this year, including to intercept Russian bombers over the North Sea in September.

The Meteor missile, which can be deployed in any weather, was developed by a six-nation European partnership. It was built by arms manufacturer MBDA in Stevenage, creating 430 jobs.

Chief of air staff, Sir Stephen Hiller, described the Meteor as “the most advanced air-to-air missile in the world” and a “huge leap forward in capability”.

Defence secretary Gavin Williamson said: “This latest missile system demonstrates the next chapter of the Typhoon which will see the jet evolve its ability to target and destroy any airborne threat at great distances.

“The Meteor missile will provide an unrelenting deterrence to those who wish harm upon the UK and our armed forces.”

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