WATCH Russian Tu-160 bombers shadowed by NATO jets in cat-and-mouse game over Baltic Sea
Flying a routine mission over neutral Baltic waters, a pair of Tu-160s were approached by NATO fighter jets which swarmed so close to the Russian planes that their crew could easily see the small roundels on their chasers’ wings.
A one-minute video clip, released by Russia’s Defense Ministry, shows the two Tupolev Tu-160 supersonic bombers – painted in identical white nuclear heat-resistant livery – setting off for their eight-hour patrol over the Baltic Sea.
Shrinking civilian traffic has left the skies over Europe empty on the heels of the Covid-19 pandemic, but air forces across the continent are still getting clearance for take-offs. Some hours into their flight, NATO’s F-16 jets started shadowing the Russian bombers, appearing from both left and right in the video.
One F-16 jet was filmed flying disturbingly close to the bomber’s escort, so close that the flag of Denmark and the Air Force roundel (or identification symbol) on its tail and wings were visible to the naked eye. The Danish pilot engaged in some sharp maneuvers but wasn’t able to veer the Russians off their course.
Dubbed ‘Blackjack’ by NATO but known as ‘The White Swan’ in Russia, the Tu-160 is the mainstay of the Air Force’s strategic long-range capability.
The military announced earlier this year that it will upgrade the Tu-160 fleet to the ‘M’ or ‘M2’ versions; these modernized bombers are said to be furnished with new, more fuel-efficient engines, digitized avionics and communication equipment that is on a par with advanced radar and electronic warfare stations.Also on rt.com Russia’s modernized Tu-160M nuclear-capable bomber takes to the skies for the 1st time (VIDEO)
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