Russia's Sukhoi Su-27 fighter intercepted a US RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft above the Baltic Sea recently, according to the Russian Defence Ministry. A 17-second video tweeted by the Russian Defence Ministry shows the Su-27 fighter coming from behind to intercept the US spy plane while it was cruising over international waters of the Baltic Sea near the Russian border.
According to the Russian Defence Ministry, the Su-27 was on-duty when it was scrambled to track and intercept the US Air Force's RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft. The Su-27 returned safely to its home base after the foreign aircraft flew away from the Russian border, the statement added.
The single-crew, twin-engine Su-27 (NATO codename Flanker) is an air-superiority fighter. The jet can fly at Mach 2.35 (2,500 kilometres per hour). The RC-135 has a crew of 27-32 members depending on the mission. The plane is used to gather electronic and signal intelligence. It is capable of almost real-time intelligence collection, analysis and can also send it the command centre and other aircraft of the US military.
#Video A Russian #Su27 fighter of the air defence on-duty forces made a sortie for interception of a #US Air Force's #RC135 reconnaissance aircraft over the neutral waters of the #BalticSea https://t.co/fbo8lz0kW9 @RusEmbUSA @mfa_russia #Interception pic.twitter.com/Wx8lNaXiYp
— Минобороны России (@mod_russia) March 7, 2019
On February 19, 2019, a Russian Su-27 fighter had intercepted a spy plane of Sweden over the Baltic Sea. According to the Swedish Defence Ministry, the Russian jet came dangerously close to their Gulfstream electronic reconnaissance aircraft.
The Su-27 was reportedly only about 20 metres from the Swedish Air Force plane. The Russians claimed their fighter was at a safe distance and returned after visually identifying the plane.
Just four days earlier on February 15, eight Russian Air Force aircraft were flying near Japan were intercepted by Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF). The Russian planes included four nuclear-capable Tupolev Tu-95MS strategic bombers and four Sukhoi Su-35S fighters.
The two formations were flying separately over the east and west coasts of Japan. While two Tu-95MS bombers and four Su-35S fighters were flying over the Sea of Japan, the second formation consisted of two Tu-95MS and was on over the Sea of Okhotsk.
According to the Russians, their planes did not violate the Japanese airspace. Russia resumed long-range patrols by its fighters and bombers in 2014 after its relationship with Japan soured following the former's military action in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea peninsula.
The Japanese media claimed that the Russian patrol intercepted on February 15 was one of the largest ever seen near the Japanese border in the last several years.