Fantastic photos of the Russian Tu-160 Blackjack bombers intercepted by RAF Typhoons yesterday

Sep 11 2015 - 21 Comments

Two Tu-160s met the British QRA yesterday.

On Sept. 10, RAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Typhoon aircraft were scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland (along with a supporting Voyager tanker from RAF Brize Norton) to intercept two Russian aircraft flying in international airspace.

The two Typhoon pilots visually identified the two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack bombers and escorted them as they flew close to the British airspace.

It’s the very first time in several years that the white-colored supersonic, variable-sweep wing heavy strategic bomber appears in photographs taken by RAF QRA pilots: indeed, according to recent reports, there only 5 combat capable Tu-160 in service and this means the Tu-160 are rarely launched on very long missions.

Tu-160 intercepted Typhoons

However, with the Tu-95s only slowly returning to normal operations after the grounding that followed a series of crashes, there is some chance Tu-160s may pay visit to the international airspace off some NATO member state.

Tu-160 intercepted

In 2013, two Tu-160s deployed to Venezuela and Nicaragua after a 13-hour flight across the Pacific. On their 15-hour return flight to Engels airbase, in Russia, that included aerial refueling by Il-78 tankers over the Norwegian Sea, the two Blackjacks entered Colombian airspace and were intercepted and escorted by Colombian Air Force Kfir fighter planes for 5 minutes.

Image credit: Crown Copyright / UK MoD


  • Callsign Vega

    I must say, that is one gorgeous airplane.

    • владимир чирак

      very old

  • Hein S

    Looks like a B-1.

    • sferrin

      Don’t go there.

    • Vadim_2_

      Better than B-1.

      • jeffrey exposito

        The TU160 is an old relic. It is a very large target painted on radar screens. As soon as they take off they are sitting targets. I hear they are very unreliable and costly to operate which explains why they are grounded most of the time

        • Vadim_2_

          Start of operation: Tu-160 – 1987, B-1 – 1984.

        • dusan petrovic

          Actually, Tu-160 was always feared by the west because it has many stealthy capabilities, from radar print to special paint applied which gave it the name White Swan..You should check ay least wikipedia data before commenting

    • styopa

      Because 90% was based on stolen US designs? Of course it does.

      • Αnd the US , stolen from Germany SS designs.

        No secret to anyone

      • dusan petrovic

        That is nonsense; simply, aerodynamic solutions can`t be solved otherwise because of laws of physics; in anything else, B- 1 and Tu-160 are much different machines, with Tu-160 overwhelmingly winning in any comparison; except the fact that USSR broke down and much fewer were built, later US insisted that Ukraine DESTROYS these airplanes in so called Noun-Lugar deal; as they were panicky afraid of Tu-160.
        However, thanks to new administration in Russia, NEW and modernized Tu-160 will be built.

        • jeffrey exposito

          I hope Russia wastes billions of roubles in an ancient dinosaur like the TU160. The sooner Russia will go completely broke like the Soviet Union

  • sferrin

    Meteorite was cancelled ages ago.

  • B-Sabre

    So what does the slogan painted on the nose say?

    • Vladimir Titarev

      Each Tu-160 plane is named after someone, and the name of the person is pained on the plane. This one is named after Andrey Tupolev himself.

      • B-Sabre

        Nice. Thanks for the answer.

  • Ken Price

    This is the cockpit ob a B1B. compare it to the Tu-160. The new Tu-160’s may have some 21st century upgrades though.

    • petrovic dusan

      So what does it mean?That more “fancy” cockpit can influence the speed, or quality of airplane?Tu – 160 is so much better then B-1, and holds some of world records check online.Also..there is a reason why Russians do whatever they do…No Russian plane can have western produced microchips etc and also, they should launch a nuclear attack on US, and survive it, so computers on board are not the best idea..

      • jeffrey exposito

        Non stealth aircraft like the TU160 would not survive very long in a conflict against a modern well equipped military. The TU160 would be detected as soon as they take off from Russian air bases and F22s would be waiting like birds of prey overhead and would be shooting them down before they even leave Ruseian airspace.

        • Alex Skorodumov

          Over north pole?
          Do you know the range of Tu-160 and the range of his payload?

  • Rich

    the Tu-160 can do mach 2.05 which is slightly faster than the eurofighter so if they opened them up they could of out run the typhoons