Ukraine Crisis: Russian Su-27s Fired A Missile at an RAF RC-135 Rivet Joint

Sgt Si Pugsley RAF, OGL v1.0OGL v1.0, via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – The UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has told MPs that on September 29, a Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fired a missile at an RAF RC-135 Rivet Joint.

The Incident…

Whilst on patrol, the Rivet Joints came across two Su-27s in international airspace. It is understood that a missile was “fired in the vicinity of the Rivet Joint.

Because of this, such patrols were suspended at the time, with the Russian Government blaming a “technical malfunction” for the missile being released.

Such patrols have restarted since then. Wallace commented on this incident to MPs saying that “we don’t consider this a deliberate escalation by the Russians”.

He also added that this incident is “a reminder of quite how dangerous things can be when you choose to use fighters in the way the Russians have done”.

Is The Russian Air Force Failing?

The question that needs to be asked on the Russian side is this: Is their air force failing?

A couple of days ago, a Russian Su-34 crashed into a block of flays in Yeysk, Krasnodar.

The Russian MoD has said the following on the matter:

“A Su-34 aircraft crashed in Yeysk while climbing to perform a training flight from a military airfield. According to the report of the ejected pilots, the cause of the plane crash in Yeysk was the ignition of one of the engines during takeoff.”

The tweet thread above highlights the level of damage and destruction that has been caused by this crash into the block of flats.

With the Russians blaming the ignition of one of the engines causing this, can it be believed that the Russian Air Force is struggling on the technical front?

Because, after all, incidents and even accidents are happening more on a frequent basis, which does throw into question the integrity of their firing power in the air.

All it could take would be one missile accidentally launched, and then it hit a NATO country. How does Russia bounce back from that? They simply won’t: It will be an all-out war.


It remains clear that quite a pattern is emerging from the Russian Air Force, and it is not good for them that this is arising for them. As for Ukraine, this is an advantage that they can certainly take advantage of as the crisis continues to unfold.

Looking ahead, the Russian Government may have to rethink its strategy in terms of its airforce, which is probably why Putin has called for a partial mobilization in recent weeks.

That being said, though, with the aerial superiority shown by the Ukrainians, partial mobilization may not work if the Ukrainian Air Force is quite effective already.

It’s quite clear that the Russians are in trouble, and it’s going to be interesting to see if they ever recover from this, especially with the power the Ukrainians have from NATO support.

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