Some glorious photos of two nuclear-capable Blackjacks flying off Scotland.
Russian Air Force Tu-160 Blackjack bombers are continuing flying long-range missions (for training or operative purposes) along the Atlantic route becoming more frequent visitors of airspaces near NATO countries in northern Europe than they were in the recent past.
Two such nuclear-capable bombers, flying in international airspace, were intercepted and escorted by RAF Typhoons in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) during a long-range sortie on Sept. 22.
Two RAF Typhoons at RAF Lossiemouth (callsign Y5R11 and Y5R12) were launched to intercept and escort the Blackjacks as they “skirted” the British Isles heading southwest. The interceptors were supported by a Voyager tanker launched from RAF Brize Norton and E-3D AWACS from RAF Waddington. The “Lossie” Typhoons handed over the two “zombies” to the southern QRA from RAF Coningsby.
It’s not clear where the Tu-160s flew after they flew close to the British Isles but they were probably taken on charge by other interceptors scrambled from nearby NATO countries.
On Nov. 19 and 20, 2015, two Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers from Olenegorsk airbase skirted the airspaces of Norway and the UK (being escorted by several fighter aircraft along the route) flew over the Atlantic until Gibraltair, entered the Mediterranean sea, attacked targets in Syria with cruise missiles, and returned to Russia flying along the eastern corridor (over Iraq, Iran, Caspian Sea).
Image credit: Crown Copyright
These intercepts are irritating and costly. NATO countries need to respond appropriately, perhaps by doing safety checks on commercial flights in Russian plans. Cite the plane and don’t let it take off until the problem is fixed.
Would Russia respond in kind? Maybe, but by engaging in a one-by-one response to fly bys, Russia would know the real reason. And keep in mind that, by delaying Western flights to and from Russia, the country would be making itself a less desirable destination for tourism and business.
It’s the weak NATO response that’s allowing these flights to continue. NATO is imposing no costs on Russia.
Calm down! Everyone knows that the great ‘Russian’ threat is a beast created by Western media houses to keep you all flocking to their news stands. Historically Russia has never been the aggressor except when there was clear evidence a breach of its borders was imminent.
Beautiful plane. Reminds me to assemble the plastic kit from Trumpeter I have bought some time ago.
They would look absolutely stunningly superb, painted in a deep, matte shade of Russian Red. (krasni)
With a huge photo of Putin smiling on the tail fin?
Intercepting is the wrong term, these aircraft were not operational’ and flying well below that maximum operational speed. Used in earnest, god forbid, these aircraft would be traveling well in excess of mach 2, which, if you ask any interceptor pilot, makes it very difficult if not impossible to effectively intercept. It is a speed to ‘stand off cruise missile’ delivery weapon, which makes it very formidable indeed.