Do NATO planes buzz the Russians ?

Lot’s of news in recent times about Russian planes buzzing European NATO airspace, do NATO planes do the same thing to the Russians? Internet searches don’t give much on this.

Yes. Most famously one of them led to the KAL 007 shoot down.

Those weren’t Russians. They were Soviets. Not an insignificant difference.

I’m sure it happens, probably pretty frequently. We just don’t hear about it until somebody dies.

I don’t follow. Are you saying KAL 007 was an American plane?

But yes, US aircraft regularly go near other countries’ airspace for various reasons, such as intelligence collection. One incident that comes to mind is when China rammed a US Navy EP-3 causing it to have an emergency landing on Hainan Island in 2001.

I suspect he’s relating one of these: Korean Air Lines Flight 007 alternative theories - Wikipedia.

Namely that a US spy plane was also in the area at the time when KAL 007 blundered through. The Soviets shot down the wrong aircraft due to simple mistaken identity. The theory being that Soviets believed a sophisticated US spy plane was directly overflying their sensitive installations and had to be stopped.

Whether the theory has any basis in reality is probably beyond absolute irrefutable proof now. Which means many people will dismiss it out of hand, while others will accept it unquestioningly.

According to Wiki

Wouldn’t RT would be crowing all about it ?

What exactly does the OP mean by “buzzing”?

The OP seems to mean just an incursion into their airspace. That sort of thing happens all the time. The U.S. constantly sends spy planes up and down the Russian border. KAL007 and a U.S. spy plane were on similar paths, and the Soviets probably got them confused, especially when the spy plane veered away from the border like a commercial plane would be expected to do while KAL007 (probably due to an error in the settings on their auto pilot) actually flew inside the Soviet border, like an aggressive spy plane might be expected to do. The fact that U.S. spy planes were routinely pushing limits on similar paths didn’t help the situation any.

And it’s not just the U.S./NATO and Russia. The Chinese have been criticized lately for being a bit too aggressive with their incursions into Japanese airspace, and China keeps bitching to the U.S. about us sending planes into territory that the Chinese have disputed ownership with.

China also routinely sends planes into Indian airspace, and China and Russia also routinely press into each other’s airspaces.

Greece chased half a dozen Turkish warplanes out of its airspace earlier this year. It’s not clear if that was a navigational error on the part of the Turkish planes or if they were testing Greece’s response times. I personally think it was the latter.

Ships and submarines also routinely push boundaries and test response times.

Correct me if I’m wrong but buzzing means going close enough to airspace as to provoke a reaction, or actually entering it. Like the buzzing insect that gets close enough to be a concern.
I think the answer, though, is yes NATO does buzz the Russians and others. Don’t really hear much about it though until something goes badly wrong.

Ancient history, of course, but U.S. U2 flights were made over Soviet airspace, and not just by sticking a toe over the border. It really bugged the Soviets, as their interectors could not reach the U2. Turned out a missile could, though.

It’s “Intelligence Gathering” when we do it. It’s only “buzzing” (and I’d hesitate to call it that) when they do it to us.

When I read the topic, I thought this thread would be about interceptions and attempts by pilots of one nation to intimidate pilots of other nations by flying very close or even aggressively towards them.

Buzzing is done to other planes or ships, by either side. Incursions are to air spaces.

There’s a good-sized element of truth to that. But …

Much of the brouhaha about this in the current NATO / EU context is that the Russians are doing their intelligence gathering / incursions in areas with very dense civil traffic. And with no coordination with the civil ATC in the area.

Which has a material risk of midair collision or of a true “buzzing” with aircraft all but meeting in the sky.

Just due to where the Russians have a lot of interesting stuff that attracts intelligence gathering, NATO & US forces are able to do the same kind of thing without flying blind through streams of airliners.

How quickly are they flying blind through streams of airliners and how quickly are the airliners flying?

If I’m not mistaken, most modern multi-engined jets cruise at around five or six hundred miles per hour (basically about as close as they can get to the speed of sound without a drastic loss in fuel efficiency). The turbo-prop driven Bear bombers and their derivatives that the Russians (and the Soviets before them) operate operate around the same performance envelope.

Regarding the mention of the RC-135 earlier, it is worth noting that the C-135s (RC-135, OC-135, EC-135, and most commonly the KC-135, with probably a few other variants) are close cousins of the Boeing 707, the archetypical modern jetliner, both the 707 and the C-135 being based on the Boeing 367-80, AKA the “Dash 80”.

The Boeing 747 is much bigger and has the distinctive bulgy second deck that the 707 lacks, but I’d imagine that a 707, a 747, a Dash 80, and an RC-135 would all behave roughly the same when flying in a straight line, due to roughly similar aerodynamic considerations.

Also, the reasons why different nations fly into each others’ airspaces vary, partly due to varying opinions on the borders of various nations’ airspaces.

Every so often one nation will claim a certain bit of territory as theirs, to sometimes include highly traveled bits of water or airspace used by many different nations. The US has historically had a habit of sailing through such claimed areas with carrier battle groups as a means of delegitimizing such claims when whichever local power neglects to enforce their claims against the intruders (or any civilian traffic which happens to be nearby). Or by knocking down whoever comes up to challenge them on the odd occasion where they did try to enforce their claim, as happened in the Gulf of Sidra in 1981 between the US and Libya. And in the same place between the same two parties in 1986.

So they are approaching each other at 1,200 MPH. The fighters may not be using radar to hide; I wonder how quickly they can see the other guy to avoid him.

From Sept 15 – UK fighters intercept Russian Blackjack bombers – complete with pics


The North Sea and the Russian far east are both major airline routes.