Mar 5, 2015
Russian Tu-95 flights forced Irish Aviation Authority to divert civil flights
The Tu-95 bombers, which flew just 40km off the coast, criss-crossed into major civilian airline traffic lanes, including incoming flights from North America on February 18.
The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) admitted that on February 18 the Russian bombers — which flew at 8,200m around the west, south, and east coasts, had caused problems for civilian aircraft operating in our airspace.
The IAA said its air traffic controllers were notified by British counterparts that they needed to take action to ensure the safety of commercial aircraft, because yet again the Russian bombers had entered Ireland airspace with their transponders turned off.
The first Russian incursion into Irish-controlled airspace was 88km off the coast. The second was much nearer, just 19km outside our sovereign airspace and the incursion lasted from 3pm to 7pm.
In both cases, the bombers travelled toward British airspace, where they were met by RAF Typhoon jets.
It is believed that the Russians were testing British air defences and sending a message to London that they did not want any political interference in their internal affairs or in Ukraine.