Two Bear-F long-range maritime patrol reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft intercepted today by the RAF Typhoons.
The RAF Typhoons on QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) at RAF Lossiemouth, were scrambled on Mar. 7, 2020, to intercept two Russian “Bear” aircraft that were flying in international airspace close to the UK airspace.
Interestingly the aircraft were two Tu-142MK (NATO reporting name Bear-F Mod. 3). Russia’s Naval Aviation operates just one squadron of Tu-142MKs: the 2nd Guards Aviation Group with the 403rd Independent Composite Aviation Regiment, based at Kipelovo-Fedotovo in the western part of Russia (northeast of Moscow).
— Royal Air Force (@RoyalAirForce) March 7, 2020
1201z: RAF QRA aircraft head west to meet the Russian strategic aircraft pic.twitter.com/Fa4HrckKOd
— Mil Radar (@MIL_Radar) March 7, 2020
The Tu-142MK is designed to perform ASW: its goal is to search and destroy submarines in distant patrol areas. The aircraft can carry out long-range maritime reconnaissance, aiming, and search-and-rescue operations too. Based on the Tu-95RT, a maritime reconnaissance variant of the baseline strategic bomber produced for naval operations, it has a maximum speed of 855 km/h, cruising speed of 720 km/h and a range of 12,550 km.
The Tu-142MK and the latest MZ variant (the Bear-F Mod. 4, with new NK-12MP engines and a new avionics suite, easily distinguishable because of the chin fairings) are both able to carry a maximum of 9,000 kg (19,842lb) weapons load inside two fuselage weapons bays, with options including three torpedoes (the rocket-propelled APR-2/APR-3, or the electric AT-2M or UMGT-1) or depth charges (such as the Zagon/Zagon-2 guided charges and nuclear depth charges), mines and sonobuoys. The typical loadout of a Tu-142MK comprises 3x torpedoes and 66x RGB-75, 44x RGB-15, 10x RGB-25 and 15 RGB-55 sonobuoys.
On Mar. 18, 2019, two Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon jets deployed to Keflavik, Iceland, to support NATO’s Air Policing operations, were scrambled to intercept and escort two Russian Tu-142 Bear F aircraft flying in the vicinity of the Icelandic borders. On Aug. 9, 2019, the RAF Typhoons intercepted two Tu-142s that the RAF mistakenly identified as “bomber” in their official tweet.