RAF faces ‘hot-headed’ Russian fighter jets once a WEEK after Jack ‘The Dripper’ Teixeira leak reveals missile near-miss

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BRITISH spy planes are facing “hot-headed” Russian fighter jets once a week despite leaked documents revealing a shocking near-miss.

An RAF aircraft only narrowly avoided being shot down last year as a malfunction stopped a missile from hitting it.

AlamyRAF RC-135 Rivet Joint jets are still racing Russian planes despite a near-miss[/caption]

AlamyA missile fired by a Russian Su-27 last September malfunctioned[/caption]

Top secret papers shared in a damaging leak revealed a Brit RC-135 Rivet Joint jet was almost downed by Russians off the coast of Ukraine last year.

The Russian jet was flying above the Black Sea when its pilot believed he had permission to fire, according to a secret US intelligence report.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace revealed some details of the incident at the time and blamed the missile launch on a “technical malfunction” with the Su-27 fighter.

But the seriousness of the encounter emerged as fresh details trickled out from the leaks, which have been shared on Twitter and on Telegram.

The documents show that in their account of the incident, US defence officials say the Russian pilot misinterpreted what a radar operator on the ground was saying to him, the New York Times reported.

He thought he had permission to fire, locked onto the spy plane – which can seat more than 30 people – and launched a missile, during the September 29 incident.

Fortunately, the missile malfunctioned and a potentially catastrophic incident was averted.

Despite this horror encounter, British jets are still sent regularly on reconnaissance missions, reports The Times.

The Rivet Joints are now, however, accompanied by Typhoons from the RAF base in Cyprus to deter Russian attacks.

John Foreman, Britain’s defence attaché in Russia until last year, said the near-fatal incident showed increasing Russian “hot-headedness” in the Black Sea.

He told The Times: “The order seems to have gone out to not let the US and UK get too close to Russian airspace.”

Flight tracking data appears to reveal RAF jets have been sent out around once every ten days in recent months.

The Ministry of Defence has, however, strenuously denied the account of the incident revealed in the documents.

“A significant proportion of the content of these reports is untrue, manipulated, or both,” said an MoD official.

“We strongly caution against anybody taking the veracity of these claims at face value and would also advise them to take time to question the source and purpose of such leaks.”

It comes as Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old US airman who dubbed himself Jack the Dripper, faces court accused of sharing top secret US documents after being arrested by FBI agents on Thursday.

The leaked documents, which were shared on Discord, Twitter, and Telegram contained details of US and Nato plans to help Ukraine prepare ahead of a spring offensive against Russia.

They reportedly contained sensitive information including charts and details about weapons deliveries, and battalion strengths.

In what can be considered one of the worst intelligence breaches in US history, the leak fuelled the fire of speculation about Vladimir Putin’s health amid rumours he is battling cancer.

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