During the Cold War, it was common for the Royal Air Force (RAF)
to scramble its fighter aircraft to intercept snooping Soviet bombers in British airspace. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, quick reaction alert flights to find and intercept unidentified aircraft still occurred but they were were far less common. In recent years, Russia has invested heavily in its military and the air force has resumed its long-range bomber flights.
As can be seen from the following infographic which was compiled using data from The Henry Jackson Society's Russia Studies Centre
, that has had implications for the RAF and other NATO air arms. In 2007, British fighter aircraft were launched
on 24 days to investigate foreign military aircraft and on 19 days, the intruders were Russian. Since then, the pace has slackened slightly, with RAF Quick Reaction Alert fighters launched to investigate Russian aircraft on 5 days in 2016. TU-95 Bear bombers were the most frequently encountered Russian aircraft over the past decade, present in 19 incidents. Tu-160 Blackjacks were observed on 9 occasions.