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. 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!.

  2. 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.

    • 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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