Russian Pilot Deliberately Shot At RAF RC-135 Last Year

Russian pilot RC-135


Russian pilot RC-135
A file photograph of the RAF RC-135W ZZ664 concerned within the incident. (Picture: Crown Copyright)

Intercepted communications present that one of many Russian pilots shot two missiles at RAF RC-135 after he thought he was ordered to fireplace, whereas his wingman yelled at him.

As we reported intimately final yr, a Royal Air Drive RC-135W had a close encounter with two armed Russian Su-27 Flanker jets whereas flying a surveillance patrol in worldwide airspace over the Black Sea on Sept. 29, 2022. Throughout the “interplay”, that lasted about 90 minutes, one of many Russian fighters “launched a missile within the neighborhood of the RAF Rivet Joint past visible vary”.

In a press release a few month later, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace described the incident as a “probably harmful engagement” that, nonetheless, didn’t look like a “deliberate escalation” however the results of a technical malfunction, agreeing with the Russian depiction of the incident. Nevertheless, new discording particulars emerged earlier this yr as a part of the so-called Pentagon Leaks.

The leaked U.S. navy paperwork, in truth, described the shut encounter as much more dangerous than previously reported, referring to the incident as a “near-shoot down of UK RJ,” the place “RJ” is a reference to a generally used nickname for the Rivet Joint spy airplane. The paperwork, whose authenticity has been disputed, disclosed {that a} Su-27 pilot reportedly misinterpreted a radio message.

New element emerged in a report by BBC today, considerably confirming the small print of the leaked paperwork.

In truth, three unnamed senior Western defence sources with data of the incident stated that Russian communications intercepted by the RC-135 present that one of many Russian pilots thought he had been given permission to focus on the British plane, following an ambiguous command from a Russian floor station.

The route flown by ZZ664 on Sept. 29, 2022. (Picture from

Based on the sources, the communication obtained from the bottom station controller was to the impact of “you might have the goal” and interpreted as permission to fireplace. The Su-27 pilot released an air-to-air missile, which efficiently launched however missed its goal after failing to lock on to it. The pilot of the second Flanker is claimed to have begun to swear to different one, considering that they had not been given permission to fireplace and asking him what he thought he was doing.

The primary pilot then launched a second missile, one thing that has by no means been acknowledged for the reason that incident. Based on the BBC’s sources, “the second missile merely fell from the wing, suggesting the weapon both malfunctioned or that the launch was aborted”.

Whereas it didn’t launch particulars of these communications, the British Ministry of Defence advised the BBC: “Our intent has at all times been to guard the protection of our operations, keep away from pointless escalation and inform the general public and worldwide neighborhood.” The spokesperson additionally added that “this incident is a stark reminder of the potential penalties of Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine”.

Since then, NATO manned and unmanned ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) platforms have continued to function within the Black Sea area, however at an elevated distance from Crimea. This seems to be associated to the presence of a “SECDEF [Secretary of Defense] directed standoff” distance which separates the ISR routes from Crimea, as proven by the Pentagon Leaks. Because the incident, RAF Typhoon FGR4 jets fly escort mission in assist of the RC-135s working within the space.

Stefano D’Urso is a contract journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based mostly in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he is additionally finding out to realize a Grasp Diploma in Aerospace Engineering. Digital Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT strategies utilized to the world of navy operations and present conflicts are amongst his areas of experience.


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