Russia may be committing aggressive moves as of late, but that doesn’t mean the British Royal Air Force (RAF) cannot do anything about it, especially when they have their Typhoon jets in the Baltic skies.
British RAF Ready To Protect Baltics From Russian ‘Bandits’
The RAF Typhoon jets are actively taking part in what is known as the “Baltic Air Policing Mission” by NATO. Typically, NATO air policing works by scrambling jets in the air should a military or civilian aircraft approach NATO airspace without clearance, or if an aircraft fails to follow international flight regulations.
Today, the British RAF Typhoon jets are busy policing the skies for Russian intruders. Oftentimes, they also refer to them as “bandits.”
Today, there are now four RAF Typhoons deployed at the Amari air base in Estonia to help safeguard the airspace over the Baltics from the Russians. Particularly, the job of these jets to keep Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia secure amidst close relative proximity to Russian borders.
“RAF Typhoons have provided invaluable reassurance to our Baltic allies standing ready 24 hours a day, seven days a week, alert and ready to respond to aircraft flying near Baltic airspace,” remarked British Minister of State in the House of Lords Earl Howe.
These RAF pilots have been in the area for some time now, part of Britain’s “Quick Reaction Alert” force. Since their arrival in April, squadron pilots have been scrambled as much as 20 times, according to the RAF. They have also intercepted as much as 40 Russian aircraft.
During some of their missions, the Typhoons ended up intercepting a number of civilian aircraft who have lost contact with air traffic control in the ground or have run into some sort of difficulty, according to a report from the Telegraph.
RAF Remains Committed To Spending Two Percent Of GDP On Defense
According to the RAF, the deployment of the four Typhoons to the Baltics underscores the country’s NATO commitment to spend two percent of its GDP on defense along with Britain’s commitment to reassurance measures in Eastern Europe.
Aside from this, the UK has committed to deploying 500 of its troops to Estonia as well as providing 1,000 troops each year until 2020 to NATO’s Response force. The RAF said that the number will go up to 3,000 when it leads the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in 2017.
Meanwhile, British warships are also out in the Baltic Sea as part of NATO’s naval mission.