[Photo] When US Navy F-4 Phantom jets met Soviet Tu-95 Bear bombers

Close encounters between U.S. Navy F-4 Phantom fighter jets and Soviet Tu-95 Bear bombers were frequent in the skies near aircraft carriers around the world.

A collection of shots taken by the U.S. planes, can be found in the San Diego Air & Space Museum archive on Flickr.

F-4 Tu-95 3

These photos tell us a story of tense moments when Phantoms launched by American flattops intercepted and shadowed, sometimes in “tight formation”, USSR strategic bombers that skirted aircraft carriers at low level to probe their reaction times.

F-4 Tu-95 5

F-4 escort of Tu-95

Some shots depict Soviet crew member greeting their colleagues in the American fighter jets with hand language.

F-4 Tu-95 4

During the Cold War Soviet bombers were often intercepted in the Mediterranean Sea by Italian F-104 Starfighter jets. And here’s a collection of images taken during those close encounters with the “zombies.”

F-4 Tu-95 1

Image credit: U.S. Navy via San Diego Air & Space Museum


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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.