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Two Russian bombers intercepted by RAF Jet fighters

Two Russian Bear long-range bombers flying close to UK airspace were intercepted by RAF Typhoon fighter jets, according to Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD). The Typhoons were scrambled from bases at Lossiemouth in Scotland and Coningsby in eastern England on Wednesday after the Russian bombers were detected flying over the Channel to the south of the UK, the MoD said. ”The Russian planes were escorted by the RAF until they were out of the UK area of interest,” the ministry’s Thursday statement said, Reuters reported. “At no time did the Russian military aircraft cross into UK sovereign airspace.” Later on Thursday, Britain said its civil aviation had been disrupted after Russian military planes flying near UK airspace forced authorities to divert civil aircraft. The country has summoned the Russian ambassador to explain why the long-range bombers flew over the English Channel, Reuters reported. “We summoned the Russian ambassador to account for the incident which disrupted civil aviation,” a Foreign Office spokeswoman told the news agency. Two TU-95 strategic bombers (dubbed ‘Bear’ by NATO) have taken off from Russia’s Engels air base on the Volga River on Thursday, and have successfully completed their tasks according to an air patrol plan, Russian Air Force spokesman Colonel Ivan Klimov said in a statement. The flight route passed above neutral waters of the Barents and Norwegian seas, as well as the Atlantic Ocean, the colonel said, adding that the flights lasted for over 19 hours, with two midair refueling operations carried out during the mission. In the meantime, Russia is getting more jet fighters. During a conference call on February 3, Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu announced that the Russian Air Force and Naval Aviation, the air branch of the Russian Navy, will receive more than 200 new aircraft in 2015. Already in 2014, the Russian military received 250 new planes and helicopters – including new Su-34 bombers, Su-35 fighter jets and Mi-28 helicopter gunships. This is all part of a massive military expansion and modernization plan which between 2011 and 2020 is budgeted to cost the Kremlin up to 20 trillion rubles. “Under the framework of Defense Procurement and Acquisition program, the Air Force and Naval Aviation will receive 126 new military aircrafts and 88 helicopters. And long-range aviation serviceability rates will be set for 80 percent,” the Russian defense minister announced on Tuesday. He further underlined that the Russian Air Force’s “equipment with modern weapons will increase to 33 percent, while the serviceability status [will increase] up to 67 percent,” which means that two out three aircraft will be operational at any given time. Back in December 2014, Russian military authorities were talking about receiving 150 new aircraft in the new year, citing the state defense order for 2015. This order has now apparently been updated. The 2015 state defense order includes Sukhoi Su-34 bombers, multipurpose Su-30SM Su-35S fighter jets, Yakovlev Yak-130 advanced trainers/light fighters and Ilyushin Il-76MD-90 transport planes. According to Sputnik News, the Russian military’s rotary wings will receive Kamov Ka-52 and Mil Mi-28N attack helicopters, Mi-8AMTSh assault-transport helicopters, Mi-35 combat helicopters, and Ka-226 utility choppers.