A Russian pilot tried to shoot down a British Royal Air Force surveillance plane (RAF), for its acronym in English. The incident, which occurred in September 2022, has been brought to the present, shedding new light on the tension in the airspace over the Black Sea.
According to information revealed by the BBC, the Russian pilot fired two missiles, which could have led to a dangerous escalation. Although the incident was initially attributed to a “technical malfunction,” new Western sources have provided details about what really happened.
The incident occurred on September 29 of last year when an RAF surveillance aircraft, the RC-135 Rivet Joint, was conducting a routine mission in international airspace over the Black Sea. Two Russian fighter planes SU-27 They encountered the British aircraft.
What makes this incident particularly worrying is the revelation of communications intercepted by the RAF Rivet Joint aircraft, which offer a very different version of events to the official explanation provided by Russia and accepted by the UK Ministry of Defense at the time.
According to Western sources with knowledge of the incident, a communication received by the Russian pilots from their ground station controller was interpreted as “you have the goal”, extremely ambiguous language. This led one of the Russian pilots to believe that he had permission to fire on the British plane, following an unclear order.
This incident highlighted the Lack of professionalism and lack of precision in Russian communicationsin contrast to NATO procedures, where highly precise language is used when permission to fire is requested and granted.
When the first Russian pilot launched an air missile, it succeeded in launch but failed to lock on target, which was later classified as a failure, not a fault, as they said from Russia. Subsequently, a dispute ensued between the two Russian pilots.
The second pilot was reluctant to believe that he had permission to fire and expressed his disagreement forcefully toward his partner. Despite this protest, the first Russian pilot launched another missile. The second projectile simply fell from the wing, suggesting a malfunction of the weapon or an aborted launch.
The Initial Response of the United Kingdom and the United States
He Britain initially accepted Russia’s explanation of a “technical glitch” and described the incident as a “potentially dangerous commitment”. However, a secret intelligence leak revealed that The US military described the incident as a “near shoot-down” and noted that it could have constituted an act of war.
According to published documents, the Russian pilot would have misinterpreted an order from the ground. This led the UK Ministry of Defense to issue a statement which, rather than clarifying the facts, created further uncertainty.
The Secret and the Escalating Potential
The secrecy surrounding this incident may be related to the need to not make public the extent of intelligence gathering and intercepted communications. Furthermore, neither side wanted an escalation that could lead to a military conflict between a NATO member and Russia.
However, the incident underlines the importance of avoiding mistakes and misunderstandings that could lead to a broader confrontation. The UK Ministry of Defense has highlighted that this incident serves as a reminder of the possible consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The RAF has continued its surveillance missions over the Black Sea, escorted by fighter jets Typhoon.
The incident also casts serious doubts on the discipline and professionalism of the Russian air force, especially in high-tension situations, as more details about this event are revealed.