Passenger planes at risk from Russian bombers, says former head of armed forces

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Passenger planes at risk from Russian bombers, says former head of armed forces - Home News - UK - The Independent

Passenger planes are in danger of being hit by Russian jets unless Britain increases spending and stands up to an aggressive country that’s “testing our defences”, the former head of the armed forces has said.

Air Chief Marshall Lord Stirrup said that Russia is playing “a very dangerous game of cat and mouse” after two Russian bombers were escorted out of British airspace last week.

In the past four years, Royal Air Force planes have been scrambled more than 40 times to deter Russian military aircraft from venturing into British airspace.

Lord Stirrup told Sky News’ Murnaghan programme that the long flights to Britain weren’t just “joyrides” – they are “mission rehearsals" by Russia.

He went on to urge the Prime Minister, David Cameron, to increase defence spending and think “very carefully” about arming Ukraine in their battle against pro-Russian rebels.

He said: "They are testing our defences and they are engaging in a game of chicken. That's very dangerous. We are seeing the possibility of mid-air collision between Russian aircraft and civilian aircraft increasing."

Last week, David Cameron had to make a public address to reassure the British public after two Typhoons from Coningsby, Lincolnshire, had to be scrambled after two Russian planes were detected off the coast of Cornwall.

The Ministry of Defence said that the jets, operating under the command of Nato, intercepted the two long-range Russian Bear bombers and escorted them outside the “UK area of interest”.

On the same day, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon warned that Russia’s president Vladimir Putin posed a “real and present danger” to three Baltic states, that fear they may too become a victim of Russia’s expansionist ideas.

Air Chief Marshall Lord Stirrup said that Russia is playing “a very dangerous game of cat and mouse” after two Russian bombers were escorted out of British airspace last week Air Chief Marshall Lord Stirrup said that Russia is playing “a very dangerous game of cat and mouse” after two Russian bombers were escorted out of British airspace last week It’s currently backing – and arming – pro-Russian rebels in the Ukraine in an on-going civil war against the Government. Should the rebels win, it would effectively be a Russian land-grab, allowing the nation to expand its border with the former Soviet state westwards.

Lord Stirrup said that Putin regards the West as increasingly “weak”, encouraging Cameron to arm the Ukrainian Government, a move endorsed by former defence secretary Liam Fox.

He said: "We have to remember that we're talking about Putin. In terms of the international community and in terms of security in the international community we in the west depend on Nato and collective security. Nato has over the years in the eyes of Putin at least become weak. Our response to Putin and Putin's actions in the Crimea and Eastern parts of the Ukraine need to be strategic responses. Part of that is being strong and making sure Putin understands we are strong."

He also warned against swathing cuts to the forces since the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review. He said they’d left the forces “right on the limit”. Lord Stirrup was the head of the armed forces before that review.

"The 2010 defence review was predicated on defence expenditure increasing in real terms every year after 2015. The Prime Minister acknowledged that when he announced the outcome of the review in the House of Commons," he said.

"We now have to make sure that those undertakings are kept. It was important in 2010. It is much more important now."
 
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I think, the security has to be improved and also Britain needs to do more so that people will feel safe when travelling or they can be attacked by bombs while flying and also will damage the country and lose respect from the people. I hope the country, does more as it will need to be safe from the bombs and also it can be hard to fight them off. I hope more is done, and also it is going to make the country more aware and also it is going to be ready to fight the bomber planes as this can happen as well.
 
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Pff. Ok I get them being scared of Russia testing the airspace. Then again, Russia has been doing the same for as long as I can remember to most of the countries in their vicinity. UK, Norway, Finland... probably a lot of the Eastern European countries too though I can't remember hearing about it.

But saying that there are risks of these aircraft having a collision with civilian airliners... well yeah there is always a very tiny risk when you do anything. But the fact is, there is a lot of space out there and airplanes have things known as radars... I'd say it's 100x more likely that two civilian planes will collide when circling around an airport than a Russian military plane colliding with a civilian aircraft somewhere above the north Atlantic.
 
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Russia is just trying to show off it's military powers and they shouldn't be taken seriously where passenger planes are concerned. If Russia is brazen enough to even consider attacking a passenger plane then I think there would be serious consequences.
 
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Russia is just trying to show off it's military powers and they shouldn't be taken seriously where passenger planes are concerned. If Russia is brazen enough to even consider attacking a passenger plane then I think there would be serious consequences.
This display of power is directly endangering innocent people. That's crossing the line. And I'm not sure if Russia would suffer any severe consequences if they shot down an airliner. Just look at the MH17 case. Russia would just attempt to play it off.
 
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While this might be an official story, I very much doubt if even Russia are stupid enough to go and start shooting passenger airlines out of the sky.

It's one thing to be threatening action against various countries and trying to prove that they shouldn't be taken lightly, but to threaten civilian aircraft is an entirely different game.
 
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While this might be an official story, I very much doubt if even Russia are stupid enough to go and start shooting passenger airlines out of the sky.

It's one thing to be threatening action against various countries and trying to prove that they shouldn't be taken lightly, but to threaten civilian aircraft is an entirely different game.
I said something similar a couple years ago. Then Russia annexed Crimea. I think other nations actions would be limited to financial actions. Nobody wants to go to war with Russia.
 
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While I take your point and it does seem like countries are letting Russia get away with a lot recently, I think most would draw the line at them shooting down passenger planes.

Well, I'm hoping they would anyway...
 
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