They were waved through a military checkpoint and began taking pictures of helicopters.
It took top brass ten minutes to twig the security breach as salesmen Max Awad, 30, and Addison Bridet, 29, snapped away at Chinooks and a Lynx.
An armed response team was scrambled at RAF Odiham, Hants, to take them down.
Last night Max, from Basingstoke, said: "We had no idea we'd done anything wrong. At the checkpoint there were loads of cars being let in. I presumed they were having some sort of open day.
"I'm a massive plane enthusiast so I said, 'Come on, let's go and have a look'.
"We drove up to three helicopters on their landing pads. We got very excited and got out to take pictures.
"Suddenly I realised it wasn't an open day ? there were no refreshment stalls. Then all hell broke loose. There were armed guards running everywhere and a tannoy blaring, 'emergency, emergency, breach of code'."
The pair were locked up for three hours and interrogated before being released.
The MoD said: "Security was not compromised."