As reports of suspected Chinese spy balloons entering US airspace continue, the Prime Minister has given assurances that RAF fighter jets are ready to counter similar intrusions over the UK.
Rishi Sunak claimed Typhoon fighter jets are kept “on 24/7 readiness” as he emphasised the Government would “do whatever it takes to keep the country safe”.
The UK’s quick reaction alert force, tasked with guarding British airspace from foreign threats, uses the Typhoon FGR4 to police the UK’s skies.
Typhoons are stationed at RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, north-east Scotland, and at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire.
Typhoons have a 36ft (11m) wingspan, about the same size as the length of a double decker bus.
They can fly at a maximum speed of Mach 1.8 – approaching twice the speed of sound – and have a maximum altitude of 55,000ft.
The jet is armed with a series of weapons, including air-to-air missiles, according to the RAF.
A US fighter jet shot down an “unidentified object” over Lake Huron on Sunday on orders from President Joe Biden.
It was the fourth occasion in eight days, all following the downing of a suspected Chinese spy balloon in late January.
“We have something called the quick reaction alert force which involves Typhoon planes, which are kept on 24/7 readiness to police our airspace, which is incredibly important.
“I can’t obviously comment in detail on national security matters, but we are in constant touch with our allies and, as I said, we will do whatever it takes to keep the country safe.”