Photo via U.S. EUCOM

The U.S. European Command has just released a series of photos that captured a recent mid-air tango between a U.S. RC135U surveillance plane and an armed Russian SU-27 Flanker that occurred over the Baltic Sea this week.

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Screenshot

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.

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U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Edward Guttierrez

The Cold War-era Su-24 “Fencer” strike jet was designed to penetrate enemy air defenses at low levels. And a pair of Russian Su-24s appeared to be testing their ability to do just that when they flew a series of simulated attacks runs on the USS Donald Cook soon after it departed from the Polish port of Gdynia.

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