The Prime Minister’s plane was intercepted by two Typhoon jets as part of a training exercise amid mounting concerns about Russian aggression.
Theresa May watched from the cockpit for the first time as the jets carried out a mock intercept after her plane entered UK airspace following a trip to Cyprus.
The jets tipped their wings as they would do in an emergency to show their air-to-air weapons systems, coming within 25 metres of Mrs May’s RAF Airbus Voyager and flying at 320mph.
The exercise was to demonstrate how the RAF’s Quick Reaction Alert jets challenge suspected hijacked aircrafts and Russian bombers which fly at the fringes of UK airspace.
After witnessing the interception the Prime Minister hailed the “unique skill” of the RAF.
She said: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity today to see our brave pilots and crew in action refuelling in the air to prepare to fight Daesh over Syria and Iraq.
“Witnessing the unique skill of the RAF at first hand is an absolute privilege and one again demonstrates that the British armed forces are the finest in the world.
“The work they do is admirable and impressive and I want to take this opportunity to thank them for everything they do to make us safe.”