A Russian-built transport aircraft has been intercepted by fast RAF jets over Southern England after developing a fault meaning it was off-course and out of communication with air traffic control.
People took to twitter this afternoon to report a sonic boom over Kent at 1640-GMT as it emerged a Russian-built Latvian operated Antonov-26 transport aircraft was tracked flying from the English channel and over England with it’s communication equipment out of commission, sparking an RAF scramble. Far from having a network of airbases accross southern England as was the case during the Battle of Britain during the Second World War, the nearest standby interceptor unit was based at RAF Coningsby, over 200 miles away.
The twin-engined transport was forced to land at Stanstead where it was searched by police. At of 1800-GMT the aircraft was deemed to not be a threat and cleared to contine it’s journey.
It is likely the aircraft may have encountered difficulties mid-flight and become lost, finding itself over 1,000 miles away from home. Latvia is a former Soviet bloc nation that joined NATO in 2004, making it a close military ally of the United Kingdom.