February 6, 2024

Two 'extremely noisy' RAF Typhoons scrambled to escort passenger plane safely to airport


RAF aircrew are on QRA standby 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.Royal Air Force crews are on QRA standby 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (Photo: Ministry of Defence)

Two Royal Air Force Typhoon fighter jets were scrambled to escort a civilian passenger plane to Manchester Airport after communication was lost.

Scandinavian Airlines flight SK4609 was flying from Oslo to Manchester when it lost communication with air traffic control.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed that two Typhoons from RAF Coningsby intercepted the jet and that communications were later restored.

Many local residents took to social media after hearing the sounds of fighter jets scrambling.

“It was definitely a very loud noise, I thought the roof had fallen in after all the destruction,” wrote one X user.

Manchester Airport confirmed the flight landed safely at 12.48pm, and the airline said there was “no danger to passengers”.

A Royal Air Force spokesman confirmed: “A Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon aircraft was launched from RAF Coningsby this afternoon to intercept a civilian aircraft which had lost contact.”

“Communications were subsequently restored and the aircraft was intercepted and escorted safely to Manchester.”

What are Quick Reaction Alerts and how do they work?

Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) is an air defense readiness posture and procedure maintained by NATO allies at all times.

This means that RAF crews are on standby 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, ready to respond to threats within minutes anywhere, inside or outside UK airspace, protecting the UK skies uninterrupted, day and night.

A QRA response involves the scrambling of fighter aircraft to investigate a violation of a NATO member state's airspace or area of ​​interest, along with RAF reporting and a coordinated response between operations centres and pilots.

Check out: How the RAF is using QRA to protect UK skies.

The Science Behind the Sonic Boom

When an airplane travels faster than the speed of sound (about 761 miles per hour), it creates a sonic boom.

Flying at this speed, also known as Mach 1, the aircraft pushes through the air, creating pressure waves that are compressed and released as shock waves.

Take a look: Sonic boom captured on doorbell camera.

Typhoon Weapon

In 2021, Typhoons were used to conduct airstrikes for the first time in northern Iraq using Storm Shadow missiles and Paveway IV bombs during Operation Shader in Syria.

The Typhoon FGR4 has multi-purpose capabilities and a wide variety of weapons, allowing it to engage a wide variety of targets.

The Typhoon can carry a wide range of air-to-surface weapons and can carry a large, flexible arsenal for long mission periods.

Armament consists of an internal 27mm Mauser cannon, ASRAAM, Meteor and AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles, enhanced Paveway II and Paveway IV precision-guided bombs, and Storm Shadow and Brimstone air-to-surface missiles.

Eurofighter Typhoon FGR MK 4


Max Speed

Mach 2.0



Maximum altitude

55,000 feet


15.96 m (52 ​​ft 4⅜ in)


10.95 m (35 ft 11⅛ in)

British typhoons


Countries of use

Used in nine countries including the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain


Short-range air-to-air missiles (SRAAM), 27mm Mauser gun, Meteor (active radar-guided beyond visual range air-to-air missiles (BVRAAM), laser-guided bombs

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