Danish F-16s Intercepted A Low-Flying Russian Navy Tu-142 Bear-F Anti-Sub Aircraft In A Very Rare Close Encounter Over The Baltic Sea

A new video released by the Royal Danish Air Force shows a low-flying Tu-142MK aircraft: a rare sight in the Baltic region.

The footage below is particularly interesting as it shows a quite rare “visitor” to the Baltic: a Tu-142 Bear-F long-range maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft.

The Royal Danish Air Force F-16s from Fighter Wing Skrydstrup intercepted and shadowed the anti-sub aircraft flying at low-level in international airspace over the Baltic Sea.

Derived from the Tu-95 Bear strategic bomber, the Tu-142 is a platform that entered active service in November 1980. It is operated by a crew of 10, including two pilots, two navigators, a nav/weapon systems operator, an on-board operator and a rear gunner.

According to “Russia’s Warplanes, Volume 2” by Piotr Butowski published by Harpia Publishing, one of the most authoritative sources on Russian-made military aircraft and helicopters today, the Russia’s Naval Aviation has two Tu-142 squadrons, one with Tu-142MK (NATO reporting name Bear-F Mod. 3) aircraft at Kipelovo-Fedotovo and one with Tu-142MZ (Bear-F Mod. 4) at Mongoktho.

The one involved in the close encounter with the Danish Vipers appears to be an MK from Fedotovo, located near railway station Kipelovo on a major railway to St.Peterburg. Indeed, the aircraft does not feature the typical chin fairings that characterize the MZ version.

The Tu-142MK and MZ are both able to carry a maximum of 9,000 kg (19,842lb) weapons load inside two fuselage weapons bays, with options including three torpedoes (the rocket-propelled APR-2/APR-3, or the electric AT-2M or UMGT-1) or depth charges (such as the Zagon/Zagon-2 guided charges and nuclear depth charges), mines and sonobuoys. The typical loadout of a Tu-142MK comprises 3x torpedoes and 66x RGB-75, 44x RGB-15, 10x RGB-25 and 15 RGB-55 sonobuoys.

According to the RDAF, the Tu-142 has only been seen in the area a few times earlier. In fact, the majority of the missions flown by the Russians over the Baltic Sea or around northern Europe involve long-range strategic bombers, such as the Tu-22M Backfire, the Tu-160 Blackjack and the Tu-95 Bear, rather than an asset specialized in ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare).

 

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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.