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).




About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a 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 five books and contributed to many more ones.


    • Ukrainian butthurt detected. Just one of these bombers is enough to easily wipe out the entire Navy of your country with one air strike as well as one Tu-95 is enough to wipe out, with one nuclear-capable cruise missile, all those war criminals in Kiev.

  1. Beautiful shot. It’s nice to see that the Bears are still keeping interceptors busy.

      • Every strategic bomber is easy target when enemy will get too close to it. But good for those bombers (Tu-95s) that they don’t have to fly too much close to enemy air space if they want to attack. They can release their missiles thousands kilometers away (maximum range of the Kh-101 and Kh-102 cruise missiles is 5,500 km) then just turn back and in full speed disappear out of detection range of any fighter jet.

      • It really sounds like you want a war. Have you considered all the possible outcomes and consequences for mankind? That the Russians are smart can be seen in Syria. Their intervention has made it possible for the SAA to go against ISIS. And they’re winning. It’s still a long way to go, but you can see the progress. Refugees are returning to Syria already (about 600,000 people so far) and half of them to the province Aleppo. Our media was trying to tell us they have fled from there because of Assad. Now they are returning. How can that be, if he is so evil?

  2. If you have nothing constructive to say and come to this site purely to insult planes from other nations, you should not bother to post. An appreciation of planes bought me to this site. Other nations have different priorities/needs. Just because a plane is old does not mean it is useless. B52?

    • What else can be expected from Ukrainian who supports criminals in Kiev? He is just mad that Russians were able to protect and take what was their before (Crimea) without even kill someone.

    • At the time, when the Tu-95/142 has been designed, it wasn’t ancient technology at all. Soviets wanted to use jet engines as well, but turboprops have shown to be more efficient due to lower consumption of fuel. That’s why the bomber has still maximum range, without refueling, over 15,000 km (9,320 mi).

    • Btw, turboprop engines are widely used also in today’s modern military aircraft. Just look at the C-130J Super Hercules, Airbus A400M, C-27J Spartan or AP-3C Orion. So when the designers of these aircraft decided for turboprop instead of jet engines, it’s obvious that turboprops are worth of use also in nowadays.

  3. A sad show indeed. Russians still think they are a world power. Older Russians still think they are living in Imperial Russia (USSR) times. The fact is like President Obama said, they are nothing more than a regional power with dilapidated forces and equipment that may be well suited for taking over a small area like Crimea, but beyond that they could not operate vs a major military (NATO) for much more than a week. Their conventional forces, as indicated by this old joke of a bomber, the Tu-95, would be crushed in a matter of days. Truth be told, they need to change their national symbol from a bear to a poodle.

    • A sad show is what U.S. Army is doing last 2 months, two of its advanced destroyers got crushed by merchant ships, several military aircraft hit the ground, really embarrassing for so called “world only superpower”.
      The fact is that Russians don’t really care about pointless negatives someone once said, they care about what their leader says, and like President Vladimir Putin said last year “We are now stronger than any potential aggressor”. That’s what really matters, because words of the President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Russia will be always more valuable than meaningless blabbing of some butthurts and haters.

      Russian conventional forces took control over an area with 2.2 million people (Crimea) within just few hours and Ukrainian forces in that region didn’t even have a chance to realize what is happening. The best part of it is that there were no casualties on both of the sides. That’s something the U.S. Army will be never able to achieve without kill thousands of innocents during air strikes, etc.
      The majority of NATO have nothing with they could match Russia, only countries such as United Kingdom or France are exceptions because of nuclear weapons they have, but their conventional forces could be still outnumbered and eliminated by the Russian ones.
      It would take likely just few months until Russia would conquer most of those non-nuclear capable NATO members in case of some war with Russia.

      Here comes the part when amateurs always fail when they are trying to judge just by how something looks like. When you already started talking about age, let me make it clearer for you, the last Tu-95s RuAF has in inventory are 30 years YOUNGER than the last B-52s USAF has in inventory. Both these bombers are still formidable.
      Another thing, good luck with shooting down long-range bombers that can release dozens stealthy and nuclear-capable cruise missiles thousands kilometers away without even to get in detection range of any air defense system or fighter jet.
      You would have hands full of dealing with those incoming cruise missiles than with the bombers that are already heading back in full speed. Especially if it would be the deadly Tu-160, that can easily reach Mach 2 and leave whole countries in ashes.

      • You’re as bad a Leroy, just a Russo-Foamer instead of a Yankee-Foamer. The Russians are as (you paraphrase Putin) “We are now stronger than any potential aggressor”, is true for along the Russian border. And barring use of nuclear weapons NATO could take back any gains Russia makes into the Baltics and Poland. And take out Kallingrad as well. Again barring use of nuclear weapons. The military capability of NATO far exceeds Russia in the long term. In the short term it’s a question of the quality of Russian front line forces (which I think are excellent), and second tier reserves (which I think are not). As far as Crimea, Russia was able to conduct a insurgency months in advance with popular support. Given the insurrection the Russians funded and conducted via Soviet colonists left behind after the USSR fell, inserting the LGM was easy and unopposed. You can bet the Balts and Poles will have nothing but contempt for Russian forces coming in re-occupy them. Yes there are Soviet colonists in the Baltics, but they only constitute 20% of the population. Russia will face a newer version of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (which BTW operated in the USSR from 1945 all the way to 1957) this time it will be the Balts, and Ukrainians if Putin tries to re-establish the old borders of the USSR and somehow got NATO to give up on a push to take back the territory of NATO allies. There’s no way Russia is ready to re-absorb the Balts and Ukrainian population while conducting a very active insurgency funded by the West.

        • Spot on Andrew! Russia is only respected for its nuclear weapons. Conventionally…pfft. A NATO/Western funded insurgency with NATO special operations and conventional forces support would make Afghanistan look like quite good for the Russkies. We will how long Putin will last when hundreds of Russian coffins come streaming back from the front everyday…

    • Go to school please, the Imperial Russia and the USSR, were two different things in almost everything!

    • Sorry kid, but the truth of the matter is that NATO would be hard pressed to prevent the Russian armed forces from penetrating deep into Poland, let alone saving the Baltics without use of nuclear weapons. I see no indications we’re dealing with a Russia that is analogous to the state of Soviet forces that invaded Finland in the 1930’s. The Russians have made some very smart investments in closing the qualitative gap with the West and given the fact that the overwhelming majority of the Russian armed forces are deployed at home, and the voluntary reduction in force levels adopted by most European nations, the Russians don’t suffer from much of a deficit in numbers either. If the Europeans were smart they would have negotiated a standdown of Russian forces to match what the Europeans were going to draw down to anyway. Along these lines should have been a mass purchase of old T-72’s and as many 4th generation aircraft to be run through German recycling foundries as Yeltsin’s Russia would have been willing to part ways with. Heck if you had paid him personally, even Putin in the early 2000’s would have gone along.

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