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Russian Fighter Jets ‘Buzzed’ UK’s Most Powerful Warship HMS Queen Elizabeth In A ‘Threatening Maneuver’: BBC

On January 12, the BBC broadcast a dramatic video capturing the moment a group of Russian fighter planes flew past Britain’s most powerful warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, in a ‘threatening’ maneuver. 

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The three Russian fighters, which included at least two Su-24 fighters, were videotaped roaring toward the British aircraft carrier and her battle group. At the time of the incident, the Carrier Strike Group led by the HMS Queen Elizabeth was sailing towards the Suez Canal.

The footage was recorded in June 2021 during the first operational mission of Queen HMS Queen Elizabeth. However, the trailer of the BBC documentary was made public on January 12 about the ship’s seven-month deployment to the Far East.

The first of a six-part documentary series detailing the deployment of the Royal Navy Carrier Strike Group will air on BBC on January 22, 2023.

The British naval crew can be seen in the video spotting the three Russian warplanes heading straight toward the ship, a maneuver that might easily result in a severe conflict. 

Officials of the Royal Navy can be seen rushing into action as the F-35 stealth jets, a part of Queen Elizabeth’s fleet, prepare to take flight. One naval officer reports, “I’ve got three Russian jets at six miles.”

“Visual. Roger. Three Russian aircraft coming in,” another crew member said.  

A British Naval officer warned, “This is a coalition warship. Your actions appear to be threatening. Turn away immediately, or I may take action against you.”

HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) - Wikipedia
HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) – Wikipedia

The jets, reported to have been dispatched from Russia’s Khmeimim Air Base on Syria’s north-east coast, are recorded roaring past the warship. It is one of several confrontations with Russian forces that the crew of HMS Queen Elizabeth is said to have had.

The Russian jets are seen turning away from the British flagship after making a near flyby of the warship while sirens blare across HMS Queen Elizabeth.

When the incident with the Russians occurred, HMS Queen Elizabeth was on her first operational deployment and had been utilizing her onboard air wing of F-35 stealth planes to conduct strike sorties against ISIS militants in the Middle East.

F-35 stealth aircraft from the 617 Squadron were conducting strike flights against ISIS militants in the Middle East at the time of the incident. 

Confrontation Between British And Russian Forces

Meanwhile, it has also been reported that, before the confrontation, Admiral Makarov, the prized flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, was also engaged in the unprecedented encounter.

The US destroyer The Sullivans, Queen Elizabeth’s American escort ship, is seen being hurriedly dispatched to thwart the Makarov in the BBC documentary The Warship: Tour of Duty.

It was one of several confrontations with Russian forces that HMS Queen Elizabeth had throughout her mission, according to the British media. The sources told the British press that no aggressive interactions occurred between the Russians and the British task force.

“There’s a healthy respect for safety. However, we can’t let an aircraft from another nation overfly our carrier without standing up and defending our carrier,” sources added. 

A spokesperson for the Royal Navy also stated that throughout the successful deployment of the Carrier Strike Group in 2021, marine and airborne forces frequently approached HMS Queen Elizabeth and her multinational group. 

HMS Defender (D36) – Wikipedia

As usual, strong defenses were in place to keep the group safe. The spokesperson added that one of them was an Astute Class submarine, and routine challenges were issued when necessary and appropriate. 

The latest BBC video is thought to have been captured just a few days before Russian forces and a British vessel engaged in combat in the Black Sea.

During that time, Russia stated that one of its patrol boats had launched warning shots at HMS Defender and that munitions landed in front of the ship. It is worth noting that HMS Defender was part of the HMS Queen Elizabeth’s carrier group when the incident unfolded. 

The Type 45 destroyer was warned, “If you don’t change the course, I’ll fire.” After the British ship refused to budge, warning shots were launched from the Russian patrol ship. 

It marked the first time Moscow acknowledged deploying live weapons to dissuade a NATO warship since the Cold War. However, Britain categorically refuted the claims, saying that the destroyer remained in international seas and that no shots were fired. 

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