Russia launched its fighters including Sukhoi Su-27, Su-30, Su-35, and Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 aircraft five times to intercept foreign aeroplanes approaching its borders between December 6 and December 12, 2019. The Su-27, Su-30, Su-35, and MiG-29 jets were scrambled from different airbases across the country to stop the foreign planes from transgressing its borders, according to the Russian Defense Ministry as quoted by Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper.
At least 21 foreign aircraft were tracked by the Russian defence forces conducting reconnaissance missions near its borders forcing the country to ask its fighters to take to the skies and stop violations of its airspace. The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that its fighter pilots flew at least 139 sorties from 48 aerodromes during the December 6-12 period.
A week earlier between November 29 and December 5, 2019, the Russia's Su-27, Su-30, Su-35, and MiG-29 fighters had to be called in four times to intercept foreign aircraft. Defence officials told Krasnaya Zvezda that 15 foreign aircraft were tracked approaching the Russian borders on spying missions and the fighters were tasked with stopping them, which they successfully did. In the said period, the Su-27, Su-30, Su-35, and MiG-29 jets flew a total of 72 times from 44 aerodromes.
Russian Aerospace Force has MiG-29, Su-27, Su-30 and Su-35 fighters in its arsenal and is also inducting MiG-35 and the 5th Generation Su-57 stealth fighters. While the twin-engine air superiority fighter MiG-29 is a more than 40 years old fighter, the Sukhoi jets, too, have twin-engines and are much larger aircraft, have a bigger range and more weapons payload compared to the former.
Russia has upgraded the MiG-29 from an air superiority fighter to multirole jet which can fight the enemy in the air as well as on land. The Su-27s basically carry out long-range patrol missions along with escorting Russian heavy nuclear bombers like Tu-95 Bear, Tu-22M Backfire and Tu-160 Blackjack. Its later version - Su-30 and Su-35 - have a heavier payload and longer range.
Russia and the United States of America-led NATO forces have often accused each other of launching aerial spying missions using their aircraft.