Homes in West Yorkshire shook amid loud bangs and worried residents took to social media to report hearing 'explosions' — but what really happened last night?
Sonic booms were heard over Leeds at around 10pm on Monday evening after Typhoon jets were launched from RAF Coningsby.
People reported hearing what sounded like two loud explosions which were later confirmed to have been sonic booms.
One woman wrote: “house shook & whole street was out, car & house alarms gone off. Apparently was a sonic boom.”
Another said: “Those vibrations shook my house and scared me to death. £QRATYPHOON had me out of my bed.”
Why did the planes fly over Leeds?
The Typhoon jets were scrambled to an Air France passenger plane with a radio communication problem.
The aircraft were launched from RAF Coningsby on Monday night to identify an unresponsive civilian aircraft, the Ministry of Defence said.
Air France confirmed that the unresponsive plane had been one of their aircraft but it later landed safely guided by the Typhoon jets.
An RAF spokesman said: “Quick reaction alert Typhoon aircraft were launched from RAF Coningsby to identify an unresponsive civilian aircraft. Communications were re-established and the aircraft has been safely landed.”
Air France tweeted from its official UK Twitter account that a radio communication problem caused the jets to scramble.
The message over two tweets said: “Air France confirms that due to a radio communication problem AF 1558 had to be accompanied by two British fighter aircrafts according to the procedure.
“The aircraft landed in Newcastle at 22.20. Safety of clients &crew is an absolute priority.”
North Yorkshire Police earlier tweeted to reassure people there was no danger, later writing: “Confirmation from RAF that loud bangs heard across the county were sonic booms from RAF Typhoon jets. No cause for concern.”
Typhoon also used to escort plane to Manchester Airport in 2014
A scrambled Typhoon jet was used escort a plane into Manchester Airport in 2014 following a terrifying mid-flight bomb threat.
A man was arrested at the airport after allegedly passing a letter to a member of the cabin crew claiming there was a bomb on board the A330-300 Qatar Airways flight QTR23 from Doha to Manchester.
The first reports came in at just after 1pm, with images of the fighter jets being tweeted by bewildered passengers.
What is a Typhoon?
Speed: 1,320mph (2,125 kmh)
Wing span: 10.95m
Time to reach 35,000ft: 2.5mins
Aircraft in service: 215-
The world’s most advanced combat plane, manufactured by Eurofighter
- A twin-engine stealth fighter capable of achieving subsonic and supersonic speeds
- Made of carbon fibre with lightweight titanium - allowing it to stay in the air for longer
- Can use shorter runways - an advantage in wartime conditions when no airfields available.
- It has both air-to-air and air-to-surface fighting capabilities
- It has six air-to-air missiles, four laser-guided bombs and three fuel tanks.
- Complex autopilot - can also be used for ‘auto-attack’, ‘auto-approach’ and ‘auto-climb’.
- If the pilot becomes disoriented during flight, the Typhoon can be button-activated to automatically recover itself to a level wing position at 300 knots with a slight climbing altitude.
- Eurofighter is jointly owned by the UK, Italy, Spain, and Germany. It was launched in 2004.
- About 100,000 European jobs are supported by the Eurofighter progamme
- As of February 2007, Eurofighter had delivered 114 of the 638 Typhoons that were on order.
- The RAF has seven Typhoons.
Other customers are the military in Italy, Spain and Germany. Austria has 18 on order, while Saudi Arabia reportedly wants 72.