By Francisco Casillas |Staff Writer|
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Air Defense, which includes the Royal Air Force (RAF) was forced to take action on Oct. 29, after Russian military aircraft flew over the U.K. airspace, according to the UK’s Ministry of Defense.
This marks the second time in a week that Russian aircraft entered UK airspace, according to The Guardian.
Officials in an interview with Metro believe Russian aircraft flying over the UK comes as an, “effort to gauge the reaction times of the west’s defenses.”
NATO Air Defense monitored and intercepted four groups of combat jets that flew over the Baltic Sea, North Sea, Atlantic Ocean and Black Sea, according to Metro.
On Oct. 28, NATO took defense in a similar incident when two Bear bombers, also known as Soviet-era Tupolev Tu-95, were tracked by NATO radars in the North Sea.
The RAF picked up the signal in Northumberland, noticing it visually by RAF aircraft and escorting them through UK airspace, according to UK officials.
The two Bears that flew near Britain on Wednesday were part of a larger formation of eight aircraft – including four Il-78 tanker planes – intercepted by Norwegian F-16 fighters in international airspace over the Norwegian Sea.
While six of the planes returned back towards Russia, the two Bears flew towards the UK where they were picked up by Boulmer in Northumberland.
After the Russian Bombers were guided outside the area, they were escorted by the Portuguese air force before returning to Russia.