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Watch This F-16 'Air Pirate' Make The Russian Defense Minister's Plane Very Nervous
The U.S. military is suddenly getting back into the hot air-intercept business again with a vengeance — and as we all wring our hands over the geopolitical implications, it’s as good a time as any to remember that even in times of relative calm, fighter jockeys are always running danger-close interdictions, flirting with mechanical disaster and global crisis. Case in point: this berserker video of a NATO F-16 buzzing the Russian defense minister’s jet and being politely told to piss off by an SU-27 Flanker.
The “exclusive” footage appears to be from Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu’s Tuesday trip to Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea surrounded by NATO member nations. The video comes from the Russian Defense Ministry’s TV station Zvedza — yes, their military has a TV station, and yes, it’s a little slicker than the Pentagon Channel — and it shows what pilots probably consider a non-event, and civvies file away as a “HOLY SHIT WHAT THE EVERLASTING FUCK” moment.
The Aviationist’s David Cenciotti parses what you just saw:
According to the first reports and analysis of the footage, the F-16 (most probably a Polish Air Force Block 52+ aircraft supporting the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission from Lithuania – hence, armed) shadowed the Tu-154 aircraft (most probably the aircraft with registration RA-85686) carrying the defense minister en route to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad when one armed Russian Su-27 Flanker escorting Shoigu’s plane maneuvered towards the NATO aircraft, forcing it to move farther.
The F-16 eventually meandered away, after giving the Russian aircraft a bit of how’s-your-father. As Cenciotti puts it, “Similar close encounters occur quite frequently in the Baltic region.” He’s not wrong: Also on Tuesday, U.S. commanders blasted a Russian SU-27 crew for “erratically” buzzing an American RC-135 recon aircraft in the same patch of sky.
But how many similar encounters get the sensational propaganda treatment that this one did? Zvezda interviewed a Russian “expert” who called the probably Polish F-16 driver an American “air pirate.”
"The American fighter broke all norms and arrangements and actually behaved like an air pirate,” the “expert,” Aleksandr Zhilin, told the Russian military TV station. “Thank God that the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are headed by a sensible person, and thank God that our fighter acted beyond all praise.”
He added: "The Americans completely trampled on international law and today behave simply like robbers."
Previously, Zhilin suggested that the U.S. orchestrated the 2015 Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks in Paris, because something something Russian sanctions.
I mean, I’ve got nothing to say to that. I’ll just let Fred Thompson do the talking for me.
Video footage of a purported "bombing of Kurd civilians" by Turkish military forces shown on ABC News appeared to be a nighttime firing of tracer rounds at a Kentucky gun range.
For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
The U.S. military's seemingly never-ending mission supporting civil authorities along the southwestern border will last at least another year.
On Sept. 3, Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security to provide a total of up to 5,500 troops along the border until Sept. 30, 2020, Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson, commander of U.S. Army North, said on Monday.
Editor's note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia announced on Monday it would hold a large test of its Strategic Missile Forces that will see it fire ballistic and cruise missiles from the land, sea and air this week.
The exercise, from Oct. 15-17, will involve around 12,000 military personnel, as well as aircraft, including strategic nuclear bombers, surface ships and submarines, Russia's Ministry of Defense said in a statement.