A Russian pilot tried to shoot down an RAF surveillance plane after believing he had permission to fire, it has been claimed.
The pilot fired two missiles, the first of which missed rather than malfunctioned as claimed at the time, the BBC has reported.
Russia had said the incident last September when missiles were fired at the RAF aircraft – with a crew of up to 30 – was caused by a “technical malfunction”.
The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) publicly accepted the Russian explanation.
But now three senior Western defence sources with knowledge of the incident have told the BBC that Russian communications intercepted by the RAF RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft give a different account.