Navy

Watch: Dramatic moment HMS Queen Elizabeth threatens action against Russian jets in tense stand-off

Dramatic video has captured the moment the Royal Navy's flagship aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth was 'threatened' by Russian fighter jets during the ship's maiden voyage.

Captured during filming for a new BBC documentary, the ship's company warn the pilots that action may be taken against them if they do not back off.

At one stage in the footage, one member of the ship's company can be heard saying: "This is a coalition warship. Your actions appear to be threatening," as three Russian jets swoop into the airspace within a few miles of the carrier.

The crew member goes on to warn the Russian pilots: "Turn away immediately or I may take action against you."

Footage of the tense moment has just come to light as the BBC prepares to air the documentary The Warship: Tour of Duty.

Watch: HMS Queen Elizabeth's Carrier Strike Group – mission accomplished.

Filming for the programme was carried out in 2021, prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the tense stand-off between the crew of HMS Queen Elizabeth and the Russian jets captured during the ship's seven-month deployment to the Far East.

The clip which features in a trailer ahead of the show's release shows Royal Navy personnel looking out of the bridge with binoculars, spotting the Russian jets – thought to include at least two SU-24 fighters planes.

Viewers can hear a siren and the words, "I've got Russian fighters at six miles" over a radio before it is confirmed by a member of the Navy that "three Russian aircraft [are] coming in".

The footage then shows the Russian aircraft flying overhead before the warnings to the pilots are given and a Royal Navy F-35 is filmed taking off from the carrier.

Russia's prized Black Sea Fleet flagship frigate, Admiral Makarov, is understood to have been close by during the encounter, leading up to the confrontation.

HMS Queen Elizabeth
HMS Queen Elizabeth leads other ships on her maiden deployment (Picture: MOD).

At the time of the incident, F-35 fighter jets had been carrying out strike missions in the Middle East against so-called Islamic State terrorists.

Speaking in a broadcast at the time, live from the bridge of HMS Queen Elizabeth during the Pacific Future Forum, Commodore Steve Moorhouse, Commander of the UK Carrier Strike Group, said the ship was carrying out a number of missions during that timeframe.

"We were launching the first F-35 sorties, from the Mediterranean, north into the Black Sea – a round trip of well over 1,000 miles, whilst also sending jets east into Iraq and Syria, on six and seven-hour missions in support of Operation Shader," he said.

"Was this all needed? Was it necessary? Yes, it was. There were over 30 live intercepts of armed Russian fighter and bomber aircraft conducted in just over two weeks."

The trailer, teasing the upcoming show, shows HMS Queen Elizabeth on her maiden deployment through the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean before heading into the South China Sea.

As well as showing the Navy's flagship, the clip also shows the F-35 fighter jets embarked on the aircraft carrier – including one particularly tense moment.

The Warship: Tour of Duty airs on Sunday, 22 January on BBC 2 with the episode featuring the Russian encounter due for broadcast on 29 January.