Watch as RAF warplanes shoot down 53 drones in biggest ever missile war game as tensions rage with Russia | The Sun

RAF warplanes shot down 53 drones in their biggest ever missile war games as tensions mount with Russia.

Striking footage of the mass firing over the sea at the Hebrides Air Weapon Ranges in Scotland last month shows missiles being shot from the jets and rocketing through the sky.

The missiles can be seen shooting past the planes heading for the drone targets.

Pilots from eight different squadrons, involving Typhoon and Lightning jets, downed dozens of drones during the 10-day test exercise.

The games were designed to help pilots and weapons crews gain confidence in using the infrared-guided missiles and give them real-world experience.

The pilots were aiming at Banshee target drones – designed for these types of training exercises.

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One RAF pilot described the experience of launching the missiles as "fantastic".

"It surpassed all expectations of what my first live firing exercise on the Typhoon would be," he said.

"Selecting the weapon and knowing a live missile would come off the rail was a unique moment; hearing the missile tone and pulling the trigger, followed by a large whoosh sound and a slight wobble of the aircraft was fantastic.

"Watching the missile disappear into the sky in front of me was a moment to remember, it really is impressive how fast the ASRAAM can go."

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Typhoon pilots from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray and RAF Coningsby in Lincoln, worked with Lightning pilots based at RAF Marham in Kings Lynn, during the exercise.

One of the weapons technicians involved in preparing the aircraft said: "Seeing the preparation of the aircraft and missiles was crucial to the more junior members on the squadron, it gave them the opportunity to understand the challenges of a live weapon firing exercise.

"Operating armed aircraft requires all those involved to maintain the highest levels of concentration due to the extra risks involved.

"As a weapons technician you get massive job satisfaction when you've loaded the aircraft, carried out all the post-load testing and watched it taxi away armed.

"When the aircraft returns 'clean' having successfully fired its missiles, it validates the years of training, the hard work and months of preparation."

The war games come as tensions rage between Britain and Russia in light of the Ukraine war.

The Royal Navy is currently tracking a Russian "research" ship that has changed course off the UK coast following raised fears of sabotage on undersea cables.

The provocative diversion of the Akademik Boris Petrov came after the Shetland Isles suffered a phone and internet blackout caused by severed wires on the sea floor.

Tensions are high after the suspected Russian sabotage attack on the Nord Stream gas pipelines last month.


And this week it emerged a Russian fighter jet fired a missile near an RAF spy plane over the Black Sea in a "dangerous" clash in September.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the unarmed RAF Rivet Joint was on routine patrol in international airspace last month when it was tailed by two Russian Su-27 fighter jets.

During the 90-minute interaction, one of the Su-27s fired a missile near the RAF plane, Mr Wallace said.

Speaking in the Commons, he said Britain suspended patrols following the shocking incident – describing it as a "potentially dangerous engagement".

Mr Wallace said Russia blamed the missile launch on a "technical malfunction" with the Su-27 fighter.

And he said the UK didn't consider the incident to be a deliberate escalation of Britain's nuke stand-off with Russia.

"We don't consider this a deliberate escalation by the Russians, our analysis would concur it was a malfunction," Mr Wallace told parliament.

"However, it is a reminder of quite how dangerous things can be when you choose to use your fighters in the manner that the Russians have done over many periods of time."

The Defence Secretary suggested the Black Sea incident shows the Russian military are "not beyond" deciding "the rules don't apply to them".

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He said: "We are dealing with the president and indeed a Russian forces who, as we have seen from the Rivet Joint incident, are not beyond making the wrong calculation or indeed deciding that the rules don't apply to them."

Mr Wallace said RAF patrols have resumed – but with fighter aircraft escorts.

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