Two Russian bombers were intercepted by fighter jets from four different European countries as they flew from Norway down to Spain and back again, it has emerged.
The incident, which took place on September 22, saw fighter planes from Norway, the UK, France and Spain scramble to escort two Tupolev 160 Blackjack jets as they skirted the airspace of each country. The incident has only now emerged following a report from the French ministry of defence.
The report explains that Norway first detected the two Russian aircraft to the north of the country. It responded by sending two F-16 fighters to escort the pair as they flew towards northern Scotland.
As the two Russian planes continued their long-range mission they were intercepted by British Typhoon aircraft west of Shetland before being met by French Rafale jets off the coast of Brittany.
Finally Spain scrambled F-18 fighters as the aircraft approached Bilbao. At this point the Russian planes turned around and followed a similar route home.
The Russian Blackjack bombers are supersonic planes capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
The RAF announced that there was no violation of the UK airspace. However on the same day Iceland complained to Russia that two Blackjack bombers had flown too close to one of its civil airliners.
For the UK it is the latest in a series of similar incidents but Spanish media claim it is the furthest south that this kind of operation has occurred. It comes at a time of heightened tensions between Russia and the West.
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