US Air Force plane scrambled over English coast above North Sea on ‘Special Air Mission’

RAF Typhoon jets intercept Russian bombers in February

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The Boeing C-40B was recorded flying eastwards over Tendring on Friday morning at an altitude of 31,000 feet. It took off from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, USA, and landed at Rotterdam The Hague Airport in the Netherlands.

Designed as an “office in the sky”, the C-40B is used by the United States Air Force to ferry government and senior military leaders around the world.

It is based on the commercial Boeing 737-700 business jet.

The C-40B can engage 27,000 pounds of thrust and reach a cruising speed of 322 mph. It has a top altitude of 41,000 feet.

This week saw NATO allies team up with Finland and Sweden for an exercise in the skies over Estonia.

Dubbed Ramstein Alloy, the exercise saw air force personnel carry out combat training, air-to-air refuelling and escort of an aircraft suffering loss of communication.

Crews and aircraft from Belgium, the UK, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Spain and Turkey took part along with Finnish and Swedish air forces.

Lieutenant Colonel Ru Streatfeild, who is leading NATO’s battlegroup in Estonia, said British troops were “buzzing” and immensely proud” to be helping reinforce the country’s eastern border with Russia.

Troops led by the 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh were recently deployed to the Baltic State.


They took part in a large-scale exercise on Thursday at Tapa military base – 70 miles from the Russian border.

Exercise Bold Dragon saw about 2,300 soldiers from among UK, French, Danish and Estonian ranks use tanks, armoured infantry, engineers, artillery and logistics.

It saw allied forces go head-to-head against the Estonians in the mud, snow and boggy conditions to further hone NATO’s war capabilities and tactics.

Asked if NATO forces were prepared in the event of a Russian invasion, Lieutenant Colonel Streatfeild said: “One hundred per cent.

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“There is swagger. They are on their game and they are ready.

“It is not that people revel in this. But soldiers want to do a job. They want to put their tradecraft into practice.

“This is what they join the Army to do.”

He added that the soldiers felt immensely proud to be in Estonia.

Lieutenant Colonel Streatfeild continued: “It is an immense privilege. But it is also an immense responsibility.”

There are currently about 2,000 NATO troops in Estonia, including the Royal Danish Army Viking Company and the French 7th Alpine Hunter Battalion.

Estonian officials called on Wednesday for NATO member states to double the number of soldiers in the country to deter Russia from advancing further into Europe.

Lance Corporal Rhydian Stephens, from Ammanford in Carmarthenshire, is attached to the Royal Welsh as a B-company medic.

He said: “We heard the news about the war when we were out doing training exercises in Germany and obviously people got excited. It’s what we joined the army to do.

“We joined the army to help. But for now we’re just watching what’s happening on the news and doing what we need to do here in Estonia first.”

Gunner Joe Watson, 19, from Wakefield said: “I am proud to be here. I think a lot of the Estonians are very grateful that lots of the British Army are here, especially the armoured units.

“And this makes you quite proud to be in this job.

“I’ve got quite a small family, they are dealing with it quite well. My dad is obviously proud. They are all quite proud to be fair.”

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