We’ve all seen the particular moment in Top Gun where Maverick and Goose are inverted, “keeping up foreign relations” with the needle-nosed, black MiG-28s. Well, apparently a Russian Su-27 Flanker pilot took that to heart, and while it wasn’t exactly the move depicted in the movie, the incident did involve the fighter crossing from one wingtip of an American RC-135 Rivet Joint, inverted. In layman’s terms, the Su-27 performed a barrel roll over the top of the RJ to reposition.
A Russian Su-27 fighter jet flew dangerously close to a U.S. RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft on Thursday in the latest military provocation by Moscow over the Baltic Sea, the U.S. European Command said Saturday.
“On April 14, a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft flying a routine route in international airspace over the Baltic Sea was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 in an unsafe and unprofessional manner,” said Navy Capt. Danny Hernandez.
Hernandez said the U.S. aircraft, a militarized Boeing 707 jet, was operating in international airspace “and at no time crossed into Russian territory.”
“This unsafe and unprofessional air intercept has the potential to cause serious harm and injury to all aircrews involved,” he said. “More importantly, the unsafe and unprofessional actions of a single pilot have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries.”
According to Hernandez, the Su-27 carried out “erratic and aggressive maneuvers” by approaching the RC-135 at a high rate of speed from the side.
The Russian jet “then proceeded to perform an aggressive maneuver that posed a threat to the safety of the U.S. aircrew in the RC-135U,” the spokesman said.
“More specifically, the SU-27 closed within 50 feet of the wing-tip of the RC-135 and conducted a barrel roll starting from the left side of the aircraft, going over the top of the aircraft and ended up to the right of the aircraft,” he said.
The U.S. government is protesting all the incidents this week to the Russian government through diplomatic channels, he said.