A video has quickly made its way around Russian social media showing a Russian Su-27 Flanker flying between a USAF F-15C Eagle and another aircraft during an intercept mission, with the Su-27 turning then directly into the F-15 at very close range in an attempt to ‘push it away’ from the aircraft it was escorting.
It isn’t clear exactly what the circumstances are that led to the intercept or where it occurred, although the F-15C appears to be from the 493rd ‘Grim Reapers’ Fighter Squadron based at RAF Lakenheath in the United Kingdom. The unit has a heavy presence throughout Europe and regularly provides aircraft for NATO’s air policing duties in the Baltic region.
We can’t say for sure if the video was shot during one of those alert scramble missions, but Russian aircraft are very active in the tense Baltic Sea region and have been known to inject themselves between NATO aircraft who have intercepted Russian VVIP aircraft, surveillance planes, and transports in a similar, but not quite as aggressive manner. They have even photo bombed large NATO formation flights over the Baltic Sea during major exercises.
All this is in addition to making aggressive moves near lumbering U.S. and allied surveillance aircraft operating in various hotspots around the globe. One Russian fighter even barrel rolled over a KC-10 tanker while flying over Syria, so these types of antics aren’t just relegated to intercepts in international airspace.
Here is a video of Grim Reaper F-15s in action during an air policing detachment to the Baltics in 2018:
Clearly, such abrupt maneuvers could end in disaster and spark an international crisis, but regardless of the normal diplomatic protests that occur after these types of events, Russia has shown to have little interest in modifying their pilot’s behavior.
We will update this story with new information over the next 24 hours as it comes available.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com
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