As we have reported earlier, Russian Tu-160 supersonic bomber outruns two U.S. F-35 fighter jets.
Since Nov. 8, Russian media, including top news agencies, have reported an alleged incident in the neutral skies over the Sea of Japan involving two U.S. F-35 Lightning II fighters and a Russian Tu-160 bomber.
These reports trended on some of Russia’s top news agencies, including RIA Novosti, Sputnik.ru, and Lenta.ru, and the government newspapers Rossiskaya Gazeta and Trud, as well as two military websites — Topwar.ru, the website of Voennoe Obozrenie (Military Review), and VVS.moscow, the website of Dalnyaya Aviatsia VVS RF (Long-Range Aviation of Russia’s Air Force).
According to a Polygraph, the “failed intercept” of a Russian supersonic bomber by two American F-35 Lightning IIs is “fake news”.
“Whatever its origins” Polygraph analysts reported, “The story seems to be fake.”
Polygraph is a fact-checking website produced by Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that is dedicated to researching global disinformation, the media reports also gave incorrect specs for both aircraft.
According to the reports, on Nov.3, two U.S. fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II fighter jets attempted to intercept a Russian Tu-160 strategic bomber during a scheduled flight in the neutral skies over the Sea of Japan. The Russian pilot masterfully put his machine into afterburner mode and escaped its pursuers, leaving just a glimpse of the giant bomber on the Americans’ flight radars. This despite the fact that the 110-ton Russian Tu-160 is nearly three times heavier than the 13-ton U.S. F-35s. The Russian media reports also described the Tu-160 as an outdated veteran of the Soviet air force, while the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II is the most modern and highly praised U.S. fighter aircraft.
The Russian media reports suggest that the U.S. fighters forced the Russian bomber to divert from its scheduled course. But there was no record of any such incident over the Sea of Japan on Nov. 3 in several aviation incident tracking databases, which include “forced diversion-military” type incidents globally.
The Russian media reports also compared the weights of the Tu-160 and F-35 at the time of the “incident,” providing figures that cannot be accurate – 110 tons vs 13 tons. These numbers only reflect the weight of the aircraft without fuel. The maximum takeoff weight is 275 tons for a Tu-160 and 35 tons for an F-35.