PILOTS in one of the two Russian supersonic bombers intercepted near UK skies last week had started the countdown to arm a nuclear bomb, sources revealed last night.
The discovery was made after RAF specialists analyzed a four-second signal transmitted from one of the Tupolev Tu-160 bombers, known by Nato as “Blackjacks”, in the days following Thursday’s incursion.
Analysts at RAF Boulmer, Britain’s Control and Reporting Centre, confirmed that the Russian bombers had begun the sequence to arm nuclear weapons while carrying out the incursion.
It is not the first time they have done this and comparison with a similar signal transmitted by a TU-95 “Bear” bomber revealed Russian air crew had begun the countdown during an incursion last year, as well.
- 26 Russian aircraft ran ‘military manoeuvres’ in 24 hours including two Bear bombers followed by RAF fighters
- Nato steps up its defences as it says two planes near Britain did not file flight plans or contact controllers
- Alliance reported ‘unusual’ activity after intercepting 100 Russian planes in 2014 – triple the number in 2013
Nato has sounded a warning after 26 Russian bombers, tankers and fighter jets on military exercises were intercepted around Europe in just 24 hours.
Jets were scrambled by the RAF and allies in Germany, Portugal and Turkey after the ‘unusual’ spike in activity, which saw two giant Tu-95 Bear H bombers fly close to Britain yesterday.
The alliance said Russia had conducted ‘significant military manoeuvres in European airspace’ – though it then added none of the planes had strayed into any specific country’s territory.
The two Bear bombers had been part of an eight-plane formation which was first intercepted by Norwegian F-16s over at 2am yesterday. Continue reading