Incredible footage has captured the moment a Royal Navy warship was ‘buzzed’ by 17 Russian fighter jets off the coast of Crimea.
A new Channel 5 documentary captured the dangerous moment as HMS Duncan led a Nato fleet through the Black Sea in May.
‘Buzzing’ is when an aircraft flies fast and low past a building or another vehicle and the Russian fighters were so close to the Type 45 destroyer their electronics could have been scrambled by the ships, which could have caused a crash.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson described the incident as ‘brazen hostility’ from Russia while he praised the work done by the flagship, worth around £1billion, and her crew.
Incredible footage has captured the moment a Royal Navy warship was ‘buzzed’ by 17 Russian fighter jets off the coast of Crimea (shown)
Royal Navy destroyer HMS Duncan, pictured in Gibraltar, was ‘buzzed’ by 17 Russian fighter jets while in the Black Sea in May on assignment with Nato
The Russian jets, pictured, flew low and close to the ship in an act of ‘brazen hostility’, according to Defence Minister Gavin Williamson
Footage from onboard HMS Duncan shows Royal Navy crew despreately trying to identify the fighter jets
Mr Williamson said: ‘Over the past year, HMS Duncan and her crew have embodied the key role the UK plays in Nato.
‘As Nato flagship, she has faced down brazen Russian hostility in the Black Sea with jets buzzing overhead, been stalked by Russian spy ships and played a vital role protecting Nato allies during the British, American and French strikes against Syrian chemical weapons facilities.
‘Through her deployment, this world-leading ship and her crew epitomised the nation we are going to be as we exit the EU – a truly global Britain which is outward-looking and engaged on the world stage.’
Commodore Mike Utley, who was leading the Nato task force from Duncan, said: ‘HMS Duncan is probably the only maritime asset that has seen a raid of that magnitude in the last 25 years.’
The incident was captured on camera and will be shown on a Channel 5 documentary tonight
Nato Commodore Mike Utley, pictured on Duncan, said the Russian tactics were ‘naive’
Mr Williamson, pictured, praised the work of Duncan and called her a ‘world-leading ship’
He added: ‘I think their tactics are naive. What they don’t know is how capable the ship is.
‘When you see that much activity, I think it reinforces the nature of what people expect at the moment and why there is a challenge from Russia.’
TYPE 45 DESTROYERS: AT A GLANCE
Cost: Around £1billion each
Engines: 2 Rolls-Royce WR-21 gas turbines, 2Wärtsilä 12V200 diesel generators
Top speed: 35mph
Weapons: Anti-air missiles: 15 medium range Aster missiles, 30 long range Aster missiles, 2 anti-ship Harpoon launchers, 1 BAE 4.5 inch Mk 8 naval gun, 2 Oerlikon 30 mm guns, 2 Phalanx anti-missile guns, 2 Miniguns, 6 general purpose machine guns
The footage shows the jets circling the ship before returning to Russian airspace with one of the pilots sending a message to Duncan’s crew, saying: ‘Good luck, guys.’
The documentary, called Warship: Life at Sea, shows one of Duncan’s sailors saying they felt the message could have been a warning to the ship while another said: ‘They had 17 aircraft, we have 48 missiles – I think we’re going to win that one.’
Commander Eleanor Stack, Duncan’s captain, said: ‘To me if felt unprecedented. There were more aircraft than we have seen in a long time.’
Earlier, Duncan had launched its Merlin Mk2 helicopter to hunt a Russian spy ship spotted on radar.
Lieutenant Commander James Smith said of the Nato presence in the Black Sea: ‘They may consider it to be escalatory, we certainly don’t. But it depends on how you spin the narrative. The one thing the Russians are very good at is spinning a narrative.
‘We have to demonstrate and create our own as well. They can scream and shout all they want but we still have the right, as do all these units, to be where we are, operating how we are.’
- The first episode of Warship: Life at Sea is being shown on Channel 5 tonight