QRA (North & South)

All information contained within this post was gathered from social media & Aircraft Tracking Websites only, no radio intercepts were made by EGXWinfo Group and none of the social media sources have claimed to be in any way connected to the RAF/MOD unless stated- Should any official body be concerned with the information contained within this or any other post please contact us urgently using this form, providing an official email address for verification.

QRA Now Ceased
Active QRA at the moment for RAF Lossiemouth & RAF Coningsby – Reports suggesting Voyager: “N1C64” ZZ333 [Voyager KC3] (Based at: RAF Brize Norton – 10/101 Sqn RAF) Departed RAF Brize Norton around 1120 to support wearing Squawk 1321 (NATO – Air Policing). You can track that aircraft on FR24 althoughit seems to be coming up as Callsign “ASCOT2311” on there for some reason. I have had a quick scout round for the Typhoons but I have not found them but it now appears this is because they are not using Mode-S Transponders so they are invisible for folks like me. As it was only QRA North I did not continue to track. Then the Voyager moved over Cornwall holding in AARA10 West (Designated Air to Air Refuelling Area) and the situation further developed and we now understand that around 1408 a QRA for South was Scrambled from RAF Coningsby, reports suggest RAF Typhoons “2ZO41” & “2ZO42” have intercepted 2 RUAF Tu-160s serials RF-94101 and RF-94104 off the coast of the UK. If you have any more information about the QRA please send it in.

Just to get things in perspective for those new to QRA following: They are a regular occurrence and they are often Scrambled to Russian Aircraft operating in the UK Area of Interest, not Sovereign UK Airspace. The threat they pose to the UK is Low as they are not known for entering our airspace however our fighters go up and monitor these aircraft that often do not use transponders to warn other aircraft of their presence or talk to Air Traffic Control. Therefore they pose more danger to other aircraft in the area as systems to warn Aircraft of a possible collision (TCAS) do not work due to the Russian Aircraft not using their Transponders and Air Traffic Control have to route other aircraft out the way to ensure they reduce the risk of collision. It is likely that they will continue to fly on and our Typhoons will hand over their escorting duty to other NATO Partners as the Russian Aircraft fly out of our Area of Interest and into theirs.

Back in October 2014 Typhoons Escorted a Latvian Airliner into Stanstead Airport after ATC lost radio contact with it. This is different from today’s QRA as this was within UK Airspace but it was interesting to listen to the Warning Message from the Typhoons that was doing the rounds in the media. It’s available here.

Updates:

1225: The Voyager is now in airspace which becomes difficult to track through the tracking services so expect it to drop of soon if it continues pressing North. It does not have the same Type of Transponder as the Airliners so can not be seen as far out to sea, its probably why we have had little sign of the Typhoons.

1429: The QRA seems to have moved round UK Airspace Counter-clockwise as the Supporting Tanker “N1C64” came back south and then went out over Lands End (See Picture) I am guessing whatever the target is our QRA Aircraft have been following it. There is a possibility that a QRA South may have been activated but I am keeping a watch out.

170216 5

(Timed 1436)

1439:Radio Hams advising 8131 USB is busy with “Russian Bears”

1456:Voyager seems to be orbiting in that general area but it is AARA10 West (Designated Air to Air Refuelling Area)

1511: Information becoming more clear at around 1408 a QRA for South was Scrambled from RAF Coningsby, RAF Typhoons “2ZO41” & “2ZO42” have intercepted 2 RUAF Tu-160s serials RF-94101 and RF-94104 off the coast of the UK. It looks like we (The EGXWinfo Group)were slow at picking up on the aircraft as they were not using Mode-S Transponders.

1521: A recording of the Russian Conversation (in Russian) on 8131 USB is on the facebook group Planes On The Net Presents Virtual Radar Server Pictures.

1539: RUAF T160’s 44731 & 44732 have now turned back west above the English Channel

1600: A Ministry of Defence spokesman confirmed that the Russian Tupolev TU 160 aircraft are in the UK’s “area of interest,” but have not yet entered UK airspace.

1644: The Voyager may be over Lincolnshire, it could be positioning to support over the East Coast. However tracking is getting unreliable.

1720: Although I am no longer tracking the voyager was last reported over Edinborough at FL270 by a third party.

1048 18/02/16: I was sent a link to an Article in Russian on the Live Journal Website that suggests the “Troublemakers were a pair of Tu-160 board “05” Red RF-94104 and “03” Red RF-94101 with the call 44731 and 44732” (Translation) and that they had flown from Olenya Airfield in Russia which is believed to be a Major Navy Reconnaissance Base. I can not vouch for the accuracy of the details but I thought I would place them into the article for anyone interested. The post seems to have a number of audio recordings of Russian Communication with the Aircraft as well. Another source has also told me that the Russian Military sparked a similar UK QRA on the same day last year and that last year they did the same the next day so if they happen to be following the same pattern we might get some more activity today. Sources monitoring HF Radio also report that 8131 KHz USB and 8112 KHz CW (Known Russian Frequencies for these Aircraft) have been active again already this morning.

   

Pictures released by the Ministry of Defence

Further Reading:
The QRA Thread on Fighter Control Forum
The Story on Sky News Website
The Story on BBC News Website
RAF Lossiemouth Website

Active Tweeters:
@MIL_Radar
@CivMilAir
@Sigint67n
@planesonthenet
@KifaTwentyfour

Spotting QRA Aircraft:

To spot QRA participating aircraft on flight tracking services look for Typhoons/Voyagers or occasionally E3 Sentries (AWACS) or other aircraft with a five digit callsign containing letters and numbers then a squawk code between 1301 and 1327 (The range reserved for NATO Air Policing in the UK.) They normally do not use their normal callsign a unless it’s a practice QRA. To view your flight tracking service options see our page on flight tracking services. (ADSB Exchange, Donny Radar & Coningsby Spotters app are unfiltered)

Remember all this information is in the public domain and on commerical tracking services so I have not revealed anything that could be considered as OpSec
All information contained within this post was gathered from social media & Aircraft Tracking Websites only, no radio intercepts were made by EGXWinfo Group and none of the social media sources have claimed to be in any way connected to the RAF/MOD unless stated- Should any official body be concerned with the information contained within this or any other post please contact us urgently using this form, providing an official email address for verification.