The British press revealed on Thursday September 14 that last year’s incident, between a Royal Air Force plane and two Russian army Sukhoi, was not a simple “technical malfunction” but a missed deliberate shot. . There may be more acts of intimidation than one might think.
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The Ukrainian conflict and its possible collateral damage still looms. The British press shed new light on Thursday September 14 on an air incident dating from last year. On September 29, 2022, over the Black Sea, a British intelligence plane was targeted by two Russian army fighter planes. The official version spoke of a “technical malfunction”, but this version is now contradicted and it would in reality be a “missed shot” but deliberately triggered by one of the two Russian pilots.
“You have the target”
Several military sources support this revelation on the “defense secret” version of the radio recordings between the two Sukhoi planes. The result is a completely different scenario than the one made official last year by British Defense Minister Ben Wallace, who at the time declared: “It appears that one of the two Sukhoi 27s released a missile towards the RAF Rivet Joint, beyond visual range. In light of this potentially dangerous engagement, I have expressed my concern to from my Russian counterpart, Defense Minister Shoigu.” Moscow then spoke of a “malfunction” and the British authorities said they trusted the Russians.
But in the exchanges between the two Russian pilots, it appears that, during the maneuver, the two fighters do not interpret the ground controller’s instructions in the same way. “You have the target” : the order in question is considered confusing and very amateurish by Western military experts. One of the two pilots then believes that he can initiate fire. He released not one but two air-to-air missiles towards the British plane, the Rivet Joint, an unarmed aircraft, on board which potentially 30 intelligence officers were working. But the worst is avoided because the Russian pilot locked on badly and missed his target. He found himself – as the conversations reveal – under the flood of insults from his Russian teammate.
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We avoided the worst because this incident can easily be considered an act of war. It could have pushed Great Britain into the conflict and even triggered Article 5 of NATO, that is to say the implication of a reaction from all the members of the Organization.
Extreme tension for a year and a half
Since then, the Ukrainian conflict has increased this type of incident. Tension has been extreme for a year and a half in the skies over the Black Sea and even closer to us. The Royal Air Force said last week that its planes had intercepted two Russian bombers in the north of Scotland on August 15. A Channel 4 documentary also recounts the meeting this year, still in the North of Scotland, of this pilot from the 9th British squadron, covering the North Sea, with three Sukhoi from the Russian army: “It’s very difficult to know where their orders come from. Do they come directly from Putin, do these guys just want to endanger my plane? I don’t know. Your heart is racing million beats per minute. But if I make a mistake, the consequences could be catastrophic and cause an escalation into World War III!”
These pilots remain constantly on a tightrope because around fifty intimidation maneuvers linked to the Ukrainian conflict have been recorded this year.