Listen to Russian Strategic Bombers talk to their Ground Control while skirting UK airspace

Feb 20 2015 - 17 Comments

Here is an interesting six-minute-long message recorded using a high frequency radio.

On Feb. 18, two Russian Air Force Tu-95MS Bear bombers on a long-range patrol flew close to the UK airspace off Cornwall.

Although the 60-year old 4-engine powered turboprop planes remained in international airspace, they were shadowed by two RAF Typhoons in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert): something that is becoming a sort of routine considered the frequency of such Russian missions over northern Europe.

Noteworthy, as the Bear H aircraft flew close to UK, Tom Hill, a radio enthusiast and reader of The Aviationist, using an HF receiver, recorded the following 6-minute audio.

It’s a coded message believed to be a message passed by the Tu-95 to a female controller on the Russian Air Force Strategic HF Voice net.

Any Russian reader can translate it? If so, leave a comment below.

Interestingly, according to one of our sources, for the first time in several months, the entire Bear mission on Feb. 18 was supported by a Russian airborne command and control aircraft: the Ilyushin Il-80 (NATO reporting name “Maxdome”).



    Looks like a turret mounted tail gun ?

  • tetrix

    It’s a communication between one the crew of one of the Tu-95s (referring themselves as 21-215) to the ground control. The message starts with double hyphen (= or “znak razdela” in Russian) then is followed by four groups of numbers – 791 952 200 263. They repeat it 3 times making sure that ground control has understood, especially the 4th group. As far as I understood the message is for 21-214 (may be another plane).

  • Ser Arthur Dayne

    Because we all understand Russian language…a translation would have been a nice thing to do before posting…this is only a useless audio recording, can’t even say it’s interesting since I don’t understand Russian…

  • rompersuit

    The fact this is becoming more and more regular is pretty scary. Used to hear about it quite a lot from the F3’s based at Leuchars. But since it closed down, you never hear the details anymore! Would be interesting to find out what they were saying though.. I mean, the dude might have just been putting his lunch order in for when he got back! Fish and chips. Lovely!

  • Hauptmann Wesreidau

    Cool little transmission.

  • InklingBooks

    The frequency these Russians are using would be helpful. HF radio can travel quite far and those without radios can use this web-based receiver based in the Netherlands.

    You can also get feeds of HF aircraft radio traffic from around the world here:

    And there are recordings of notable events at:

  • Matt

    I am told by a Russian speaking colleague of mine in Azerbaijan that “it is a very long and boring speech, all made up of numbers, it sounds encrypted” – so even if a literal word for word translation is forthcoming I’m not sure it will tell us anything at all.

  • RHarris
  • Anonymous

    The article does not seem to contain any link to the audio recording mentioned in it. There is a soundcloud link but this one leads to some pop song (at least at my location),

  • Tweedle Dee

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but is Big Sean a member of Russian bomber crews?

  • AlexisWolf

    The media and their selected ‘experts’ trying to get us hysterical about the usual, you’d almost think there’s imminent elections on both sides of the pond!.

  • vaildog

    I would hope we are sending sorties of B-52s charging into Soviet airspace in response. I also hope those Typhoons are getting missile locks on the Tu-95s to let them know how serious NATO is.

    • Steve Rainwater

      The US routinely violated Russian airspace on ferret missions during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. No reason to expect that has stopped. fact is, had the Russians violated US air space to the same extent the Chickenhawks would be screaming bloody murder.

  • jamie

    Is it possible that in that inaudible sound they sends an encrypted messages over RF?

  • Steve Rainwater

    Good point. much is being made in the press about these so-called “incursions” when it fact they are probably electronic ferreting missions. Something we do with regularity to both Russia and China.

  • Steve Rainwater

    Then be astonished. The US violated Russian airspace routinely for over 35 years with everything from RB-47’s to P2 Neptunes. Quite a few of them were shot down.

  • Steve Rainwater

    The US has been running ferret missions against Russia since 1947.