Although it’s hard to believe these images depict Soviet maritime patrol aircraft flying in U.S. Navy markings

May 09 2013 - 9 Comments

The following images were brought to my attention by writer Miguel Vargas-Caba.

Author of “Bear: Flight to Liberty”, during research for his novels, Miguel has acquired an extensive collection of Soviet and Russian articles, videos, documentaries, books, hundreds of photos, etc., illustrating the Soviet Armed Forces during the Cold War, as well as the Russian Armed Forces of today.

Among the material he has collected, there are the following images (probably stills taken from a video) depicting a real Il-38 of the Soviet Naval Aviation painted with US insignias for a Soviet movie called “Incident at Square 36-80” made in 1982 by Mosfilm.

Mystery Airplane of the US Navy - 1 BW

“The movie was about “an American nuclear sub” that got in troubles and threatens to blow up and contaminate the ocean. Before the sub sank, the Soviet Navy comes to the rescue of the unfortunate, stranded American sailors, and saves the day.

Mystery Airplane of the US Navy - 2 BW

A nice, if somewhat prophetic movie, although on the wrong side. In October 1986 Soviet submarine K-219 (seen in the movie “The Widow Maker” with Harrison Ford) had an accident onboard, when one of its torpedos blew up, causing it to sink. One happened in fiction, the other, for real.

Mystery Airplane of the US Navy - 3 BW

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  • George Booth

    Even if you don’t recognize the aircraft, the position of the U.S. Navy markings is off, as are the proportions of the U.S. insignia (a point often missed on restored and museum aircraft in the U.S!). Clearly from a movie or training film.

  • VNCcommunicationcounsel

    Hm. I suppose the USA never lost a sub by accident? All fiction, eh?
    Sorry, David, I really think you ought to know better and that you could have more even-handed in this post.
    Ten seconds on the net gave me four USN subs lost in accidents:
    USS Cochino (SS-345)
    USS Scorpion (SSN-589)
    USS Stickleback (SS-415)
    USS Thresher (SSN-593)

    • Brian

      Hmm, Ten seconds on the web showed me that the US has lost only 2 ” nuclear ” subs. The Stickleback & Cochino were not nuclear. On the other hand Soviet Union / Russia has lost 6 nuclear subs and thats not counting K-429 that sank twice but was raised each time.

      K-27 November class

      K-8 November class

      K-219 Yankee 1 class

      K-278 Komsomolets

      K-141 Kursk Oscar 2 class

      K-159 decommissioned under tow November class

      Maybe his post was even-handed ?

  • Liverbird

    The Widowmaker was about the K-19 (which had reactor failure in 1961), not the K-219.

  • Liverbird

    The Widowmaker movie was about the K-19 (which had reactor failure in 1961), not the K-219.

  • Jon

    Is that the faded ghost of a red star I see on the underside of the port wing, just outboard of the engine?

    • Tofab

      Probably covered it with water-based paint. You can’t really see it in the movie itself.

  • Infors
  • Here’s a clip featuring this aircraft: