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

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”).


About David Cenciotti 4451 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance 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 four books.


  1. 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).

  2. 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…

  3. 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!

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