Defence sources dispute Kremlin allegation of “technical malfunction” after Russian fighter fired at spy plane

Defence sources dispute Kremlin allegation of “technical malfunction” after Russian fighter fired at spy plane


Russian claims that a ‘technical glitch’ prompted one of its fighter aircraft to fire a missile near to a British spy plane have been refuted by defense sources.

They told the Daily Mail that the event, which Defense Secretary Ben Wallace disclosed yesterday, was more likely a Kremlin warning about Britain’s military backing for Ukraine.

Mr. Wallace informed the House of Commons that a Su-27 intercepted the intelligence-gathering aircraft on September 29 over the Black Sea.

The Russian aircraft missed the RAF Rivet Joint, which was equipped with sensors and software for eavesdropping Russian military communications.

However, defense sources threw doubt on Russia’s statement, suggesting that the missile was launched on purpose.

Rear Admiral Chris Parry, now retired, stated, ‘Of course it wasn’t an accident. The incident manifested clear intent to intimidate. Now, we are engaged in a strategic battle with Russia. We must be more resolute and confront these criminals.

In June 2021, British and Russian forces engaged in a similar hostile encounter in the same zone.

When the British cruiser HMS Defender crossed its path in the Black Sea, a Russian coastguard vessel fired machine gun rounds at it.

Prior to this, the captain of the Royal Navy ship had disregarded warnings that it could come under fire if it approached the Crimean peninsula, which Russia has occupied since 2014.

As soon as HMS Defender was out of range, the Russians began fire, ensuring that no one aboard the warship was injured.

The most recent incident may have been precipitated by Russian fears that the Rivet Joint was gathering military intelligence that the United Kingdom might provide to Ukraine. Francis Tusa, a defence specialist, stated, “If I were in NATO headquarters, I would be concerned about the possibility of a turning point.”

“RAF and US Rivet Joints gather intelligence by flying “racetrack” flight patterns over the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, and eastern Poland.” The aircraft is designed to collect electronic signals and communications.

Do they then transmit this intelligence to the Ukrainians? The frequency with which Ukrainian artillery appears to strike Russian army field headquarters seems to indicate in this way.

If the Russian air force becomes more hostile towards NATO observation aircraft, close security of these assets becomes a serious concern.

Mr. Wallace stated that following the event, Rivet Joint patrols were temporarily discontinued. They continued with NATO fighter jets accompanying the reconnaissance aircraft.

He stated, “Two Russian Su-27 fighter aircraft interacted with an unarmed RAF Rivet Joint civilian aircraft during a routine patrol over the Black Sea.”

Aircraft being shadowed is not uncommon, and this day was no exception. During that confrontation, however, one of the Su-27s launched a missile beyond visible range towards the RAF Rivet Joint.

The interaction lasted around 90 minutes in total.

The aircraft completed the patrol and returned to base.

Mr. Wallace stated, ‘Everything we do is reviewed and calibrated in light of the current crisis in the region and international law.

We applauded Russia’s admission that this was international airspace. Since 2019, the United Kingdom has regularly flown RAF Rivet Joint missions over the Black Sea, and this will continue.

In a second incident, a Russian plane flew within 15 feet of a NATO aircraft, Mr. Wallace continued. He termed such conduct “reckless” and “unnecessary.”

Missions of the Rivet Joint are shrouded in secret.

Typically, the aircraft’s crew of up to 30 consists of linguists, communications specialists, and technicians.

They operate strictly secret equipment.

The aircraft is 135 feet long and has a top speed of 540 mph.

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