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BRITS GO ON A BEAR HUNT

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Shades of the Cold War as RAF Jets See off Russian Bombers
By Harold Hutchison

RAF Typhoon intercepts a Bear.
Photo by UK Ministry of Defense

Royal Air Force jets scrambled and saw off Russian bomber approaching the United Kingdom, an action reminiscent of the Cold War. The incident comes as tensions with Russia are rising as the Ukraine prepares a second “anti-terror” offensive.

According to a report by News.Sky.Com, RAF Typhoons were scrambled to intercept Tupelov Tu-95 bombers, which have the NATO code name “Bear” from Russia. The Typhoons proceeded to see the Bears off. The British news outlet also reported that unidentified Dutch and Danish planes were also scrambled. The Associated Press later identified the Dutch planes as F-16 Fighting Falcons.

The Tu-95 first flew in 1952, and remained in production through 1994. As a contemporary of the B-52, it also carried out the strategic bombing mission. Other variants of the Tu-95 were used for maritime reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare, photo reconnaissance, and even as a command and control aircraft for SSBNs. Later versions of the Tu-95 could carry missiles like the Kh-20 (AS-3 Kangaroo), Kh-22 (AS-4 Kitchen), Kh-55 (AS-15 Kent), and the Kh-15 (AS-16 Kickback).

During the Cold War, Tu-95s were often intercepted by various fighters. The term used for those missions was “Bear hunt.”