A resprayed plane used to transport the Prime Minister and the royal family has been called out to support military aircraft in Scotland, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.
A week after returning to the skies after being painted with the Union flag, the RAF Voyager joined the Quick Response Action (QRA) with jets from RAF Lossiemouth early on Friday morning.
Typhoon fighter aircraft were scrambled to monitor Russian long-range aircraft that were flying in international airspace north of Scotland.
To support the Typhoons, a Voyager aircraft from RAF Brize Norton was also launched to conduct air refuelling, to allow extra flight time.
The Voyager used today was the recently returned to service VIP configured aircraft.
The Minister for Armed Forces James Heappey MP said: “Once again our RAF personnel have demonstrated their exceptional abilities to protect our skies, responding to provocation without hesitation.
“The dangerous flying of Russian aircraft towards our air space is a clear reminder of the threats that we face as a nation on a daily basis.”
Air Vice Marshal Duguid, Air Officer Commanding 11 Group, said: “The interception by RAF Typhoons of Russian military aircraft in the UK FIR demonstrates our continuing resolve to police, protect and defend our airspace 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
He added: “Today’s operational debut of the VIP Voyager demonstrates the aircraft’s ability to continue as an operational asset alongside its VIP role.”
A Lossiemouth spokesman said the Voyagers can be tasked to “provide air-to-air refuelling or they can be tasked to transport personnel or freight”.
The cost of the respray, confirmed by Downing Street at “around £900,000” and undertaken at an airport in Cambridgeshire, was condemned by opposition politicians when it was revealed last month.
The SNP criticised it as an “utterly unacceptable use of public funds”.