Assad launched two Syrian Air Force Su-24 attack planes towards Cyprus to probe British airbase’s air defenses
Last week we reported the news that, on Sept. 2, the RAF Typhoons based in Cyprus, to provide the air defense of the island following the Syrian crisis, were scrambled from the British base at Akrotiri whereas two Turkish Air Force took off from Incirlik airbase and headed towards the island.
In the following days, more details about the Cyprus incident emerged.
Journalist Andrew Potter talked to the British MoD spokeperson who said: “The MOD can confirm that Typhoon Air Defence Aircraft were launched from RAF Akrotiri yesterday to investigate unidentified aircraft over the Eastern Mediterranean; the aircraft were flying legally in international airspace; no intercept was required.”
On Sept. 8, The Sunday People / Sunday Mirror revealed that Syrian Su-24 Fencers were actually involved.
“RAF Typhoon fighters won a mid-air showdown with two Syrian warplanes heading towards Britain’s main base in Cyprus, the Sunday People can reveal. The dramatic confrontation came after President Bashar al-Assad’s air chiefs sent two Russian-made Sukhoi Su-24s to probe our air defences. The Syrian bombers refused to respond to repeated attempts by the control tower at the UK’s Akrotiri air base to contact them.”
RAF Typhoons from the XI Sqn in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) duty on the island, were scrambled before the Su-24s, that were flying in international airspace and were spotted by a flying E-3D AWACS could enter the 14-mile air exclusion zone. Otherwise, they would have been intercepted and identificated, and eventually escorted out of the restricted airspace.
Buzzing the enemy airspace to test its reaction time or actively disturbing the enemy training activities is not rare.
H/T to TJ for the heads-up
Image credit: SANA/Reuters