Typhoon fighter jets were scrambled to intercept Russian military 'Bear' bombers for the second time in a week, it has emerged.
The Typhoons were sent up from RAF Lossiemouth on Friday to escort the Soviet-era Tupolev Tu-95 aircraft, just two days after UK jets intercepted another two Russian bombers over the North Sea.
It comes amid what NATO described as an "unusual" increase in activity from Russian military jets over European airspace ranging from the Black Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.
An RAF spokeswoman said the Russian aircraft has been picked up by the RAF Control and Reporting Centre at Boulmer in Northumberland, which scrambled the Typhoons.
She said: "Following a similar incident on Wednesday 29 October, the RAF Typhoon pilots visually identified the Russian aircraft and escorted them through the UK flight information region."
Air Vice-Marshal Gary Waterfall, who is in charge of UK air defence, said: "The Royal Air Force was formed to secure the skies over the UK, and it remains our main task.
"This week's news has shown yet again that the RAF's quick reaction alert is an essential element of our nation's security."