RAF Typhoons intercept Russian Il-20M near Lithuania

Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4s – currently deployed to Lithuania in support of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing (BAP) mission – have carried out their first intercept of a Russian military aircraft.

RAF Typhoon FGR4 and Russian Il-20M 'Coot-A' [MoD Crown Copyright/SAC Ian Curlett] #1
An RAF Typhoon FGR4 intercepts a Russian Il-20M Coot A ISR aircraft over the Baltic. MoD Crown Copyright/SAC Iain Curlett 

The multi-role fighters – belonging to No 6 Squadron – launched from Šiauliai air base, Lithuania, on June 2 to intercept a Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS-RF) Il-20M Coot-A intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft.

A Typhoon pilot from No 6 Squadron, who was on quick reaction alert (QRA) duty when the scramble was called, said: “The initial scramble was a real shot of adrenaline, but once airborne it was important to remain calm and professional and make the intercept as expeditious as possible to ensure we maintained both the safety and integrity of NATO airspace.”

Ilyushin Il-20M 'Coot-A' [MoD Crown Copyright/SAC Iain Curlett] #1
Russian Il-20M Coot-A - serial RF-93611 - was intercepted by RAF Typhoon FGR4s on June 2. MoD Crown Copyright/SAC Iain Curlett

The No 6 Squadron aircraft deployed to Šiauliau air base on May 1, when the 135th Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) took over the enhanced air policing role in Lithuania. A detachment of Ejército del Aire (EdA, Spanish Air Force) EF-18M Hornets are also supporting the BAP mission from the base.