New and seemingly-real footage of a Russian fighter jet banking hard toward a U.S. Air Force F-15 during an intercept that was likely over the Baltic Sea has surfaced online. In the footage, a Russian Air Force Su-27 Flanker can be seen banking directly into the F-15, forcing the American pilot to match the maneuver in order to avoid a mid-air collision.
#BREAKING: A #Russian Air Force pilot has released this video showing how a #RuAF Su-27P (from 72nd Guards AvB) dangerously banked in front of a #USAF‘s F-15C of 493rd Fighter Squadron while it was patrolling over #Baltic Sea as a part of #NATO Baltic Air-policing mission. pic.twitter.com/zVU5dN4rpe
— Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) January 31, 2019
It’s unlikely this video is of a recent intercept, as the last time U.S. Air Force F-15s were deployed in support of the Baltic air-policing mission was December of 2017. It’s unclear why this footage found its way to the internet now, but watching it serves as a stark reminder that American and Russian aircraft are regularly engaged in an uncomfortable mix of aerial professionalism over international waters and aggressive behavior intended to intimidate.
The United States has repeatedly called Russia out for its frequent “unsafe” intercepts of American aircraft, which are often unarmed reconnaissance flights like one intercept that took place earlier this week. Russian officials, however, have been historically dismissive of said claims, sometimes even suggesting the problem is American pilots lacking nerve.
Last November, another Russian-flagged Su-27 intercepted a U.S. Navy EP-3 Aries II reconnaissance aircraft flying over the international waters of the Black Sea. The encounter, which lasted nearly 25 minutes, occurred when the Flanker conducted a high-speed pass directly in front of the Aries II. The Russian fighter then circled back and closed with the unarmed American aircraft a second time. On the second pass, the Russian jet engaged its afterburner as it crossed in front of the EP-3, creating violent turbulence likely intended to force the aircraft to adjust its course.
“A U.S. EP-3 Aries aircraft flying in international airspace over the Black Sea was intercepted by a Russian Su-27. This interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the Su-27 conducting a high speed pass directly in front of the mission aircraft, which put our pilots and crew at risk,” the U.S. Navy said in a press release at the time.
“The intercepting Su-27 made an additional pass, closing with the EP-3 and applying its afterburner while conducting a banking turn away. The crew of the EP-3 reported turbulence following the first interaction, and vibrations from the second. The duration of the intercept was approximately 25 minutes.”
Feature image screen captured from Twitter