On Monday Russia’s Defense Ministry published video showing a dangerous aerial encounter between US and Russian aircraft that took place in the skies above the Baltic Sea. The incident involved a Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet intercepting a US P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft after — as Russian statements claimed — the US Air Force spy plane was picked up on radar rapidly approaching approaching the Russian maritime border in the Baltic Sea.
But more video has surfaced late this week showing spectacular footage in what a appears to be a separate and previously unknown incident, also over the Baltic Sea. It was put online by a purported retired Russian pilot and appears to be a separate video taken from a Russian fighter jet on an unknown date. The new video shows a Russian Air Force Su-27 Flanker aggressively banking into a U.S. Air Force F-15.
#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
In recent years, there’s been a significant uptick in such dangerous incidents between Russian and US Air Force jets over the Baltic and Black Seas, and it follows reports last week about a tense standoff between Russian bombers and Canadian military aircraft in the Canadian Air Identification Zone.
It’s another reminder of just how quickly a major crisis could flare up in an instant based on such intercepts.
Prior video released Jan. 28 of Russian fighters shadowing the US P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft over the Baltic.
The Aviationist aerial analysis site narrows down the possible timeline for when the new video of the US-Russian jets incident may have occurred:
A clip that shows a Russian Air Force Su-27 Flanker aggressively banking into a U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle has appeared online. It’s not clear where and when the footage was taken but, provided it is genuine (it seems so), it was probably filmed in the Baltic region, when the U.S. Air Force F-15C) were supporting NATO BAP (Baltic Air Policing) mission.
Last time U.S. Air Force supported BAP was during the 45th BAP rotation between August and December 2017.
American defense officials have been increasingly vocal in condemning what they’ve consistently described as “aggressive maneuvers” carried out by Russian jets against US aircraft.
The Aviationist notes further multiple major instances over the past few years where this was the case:
As happened on Jan. 29, 2018, when a U.S. EP-3 Aries aircraft flying in international airspace was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 over the Black Sea; on Apr. 29, 2016, when a Russian Su-27 Flanker barrel rolled over the top of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft operating in the Baltic Sea; on Apr. 14, 2016, when another Su-27 carried out the same dangerous maneuver on another US Rivet Joint over the Baltic; on Jan. 25, 2016 when a Russian Su-27 Flanker made an aggressive turn that disturbed the controllability of the RC-135; or on Apr. 7, 2015, when a Flanker flew within 20 feet of an RC-135U over the Baltic Sea.
There’s been no official government confirmation by either side concerning the events shown in the new video that surfaced Thursday.
The Russian Defense Ministry described this week’s prior incident as follows: “A quick reaction alert Su-27 fighter jet from the Air Defense Force was scrambled to intercept the target in the air. The Russian fighter’s crew approached the air object at a safe distance and identified it as a P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance plane of the US Air Force,” the ministry noted.
However, the new video of the Russian fighter banking into the US F-15 reveals an incident that was anything but “safe” — so it’ll be interesting to hear a detailed account if any official details are released over the incident.