Two Typhoon aircraft came within sight of a civilian helicopter before the pilot realised that a security alert had been triggered, ITV News has learnt.
The drama took place near Bath this evening when the helicopter mistakenly broadcast an emergency signal. The signal can suggest that an aircraft has been hijacked or has ‘gone rogue’.
The two Typhoons were scrambled, one emitting a sonic boom that shook houses in Coventry, Rugby and across the Midlands.
There were further reports of the boom being heard in:
The MoD response was standard procedure officials say, and the emergency signal from the helicopter turned out to be a false alarm.
Still an eyewitness on Twitter said the planes:
The Typhoon aircraft got close enough to ID the tail number then may have flown to the front of the helicopter to alert the pilot, officials said.
It does not appear to have been an exercise in the run up to the Olympic Games.
Still, some will see it as an indication of the high alert Britain is now on, with the games and Queens Jubilee celebrations just months away.