Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Intense Footage Shows A Russian Fighter Veering Into A US Air Force F-15
In the most recent illustration of ongoing Russia-NATO military tensions over Baltic airspace, newly released footage shows a Russian Su-27 fighter making a sharp turn into an U.S. Air Force F-15C.
It is unclear when the video was filmed, with some speculating that it occured during a prior NATO BAP (Baltic Air Policing) mission. When viewed in that light, this incident seems to fall into the trend of what US officials have previously described as " unsafe" Russian interceptions and "aggressive maneuvers" in high-tension airspace.
Russian tactical aircraft in the Baltic region have previously been accused of flying with their transponders off, which would certainly compound an already-tense interception. The Russians have levied similar accusations against western aircraft operating in the region; most recently, against an unidentified Swedish Gulfstream surveillance craft intercepted by an Su-27.
But Russian media and military experts provide an entirely different context, arguing that it was the F-15 that engaged in "provocative" and "reckless" behavior by allegedly intruding on the flight path of a Russian government plane being escorted by the Su-27 in question.
The Su-27's pilot was just doing his job, military expert Andrei Krasnoperov told Russian state news outlet RIAFAN : "Our government officials frequently fly, and are obviously going to be accompanied by our Su-27's. Our fighters don't intend to attack anyone, but they also cannot allow any encroachment on the flight path of the unarmed VIP plane. When the F-15 tries to fly close to such a plane, we don't know what the NATO pilot is thinking-- he could occupy the VIP's flight course, he can try to attack the plane, etc. To deter all of this, our pilots don't allow [foreign aircraft] near planes that are being escorted. In the video, our Su-27 executed a pinning maneuver on its left axis to let the F-15 pilot know: there is nothing to be gained here . He was clearly warned: turn back, or we'll both go down ."
Krasnoperov went on to praise the professionalism of Su-27 interceptor pilots, further driving home the point that this interception was standard procedure, not a spur-of-the-moment decision by a hot-headed pilot: "... we don't have rookies, and our pilot knows the plane's capabilities. He knows how the Su-27 responds to various control commands, he knows much much to tilt, how much to thrust, and all the rest."
The Russian account is not implausible, given that Kremlin officials frequently fly to and from Kaliningrad-- a Russian enclave in Europe nestled between several NATO countries-- over Baltic airspace. For instance, a similar altercation between an Su-27 and F-16 occured in June 2017 while Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was en route to Kaliningrad onboard a Tu-154 airliner.
Even so, there are currently no corroborating details to confirm or dismiss the Russian account. Interceptions are exceedingly common in the Baltic region, though some are more tense than others; as Krasnoperov points out, the Su-27 pilot was trained and apparently ready to attack the F-15C had it not promptly veered off course.
Whatever the details may be, this incident reveals an unsettling truth about the ease with which the Russia-NATO military buildup in the Baltic can lead to direct military confrontation.
This article originally appeared on The National Interest.
More from The National Interest:
- The U.S. Navy Has Big Plans to Use Deadly "Swarms". Here's How It Works
- This Might Be Russia's Scariest Doomsday Weapon
- Join the Chinese Air Force and Fly a J-20 Stealth Fighter
WATCH NEXT: Su-25 Frogfoot Touch And Go
The Pentagon has identified the two soldiers were killed in combat in Afghanistan on Wednesday as members of U.S. Army Special Forces.
Master Sgt. Luis F. DeLeon-Figueroa, 31, and Master Sgt. Jose J. Gonzalez, 35, both died in Faryab Province from wounds sustained from small arms fire, the Pentagon said in a press release. The incident is under investigation.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted on Thursday of possible Israeli involvement in attacks against Iranian-linked targets in Iraq.
A series of blasts in the past few weeks have hit weapon depots and bases belonging to paramilitary groups in Iraq, many of them backed by Israel's regional foe Iran. The groups blamed the United States and Israel for the blasts on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that will make it easier for permanently disabled veterans to have their student loan debt forgiven.
Physical fitness tests were briefly suspended earlier this week and outdoor cardio testing will be curtailed for the remainder of the summer at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, after an airman died Saturday. She had completed her PT test on Friday.
Navy Secretary Richard Spencer has expanded a review of the Judge Advocate General Corps to include the Marine Corps, a Navy spokesman said on Thursday.
"There is value in applying this review and its subsequent recommendations across the Department of the Navy," Cmdr. Jereal Dorsey told Task & Purpose. "The review's purpose is to confirm the uniformed legal community is structurally and organizationally sound and best supporting the good order and discipline our integrated naval force."