Filmed during Zapad 2013, the “Immense” Russian – Belarusian military exercise that took place last month in Eastern Europe, the following footage shows a Russian Navy warship reacting to a visit by a seemingly unarmed Swedish Air Force SAAB Gripen.
The fighter jet, most probably flying a reconnaissance mission, performs a couple of flybys over the naval units involved in the exercise causing some Russian Marines to embrace their rifles and point them against the “enemy”.
The episode proves the drills, involving, among the others, Russia’s Baltic fleet as well as transport vessels from Northern Fleet and Black Sea Fleet, were closely watched by the neighborough countries.
And, whereas close encounters are often documented from the Western side, there are few events that are filmed or photographed from the Russian one.
On Sept. 16 just before the Zapad 2013 started eight Russian Air Force planes skirted Estonia’s airspace on their way from St Petersburg region to Kaliningrad Oblast; fighter planes from Sweden, Finland and NATO planes situated in Lithuania were scrambled to intercept the Russian fighter jets (including some Su-27 Flankers).
H/T to Lars-Gunnar Holmström for the heads-up
It seems to me that those were two unrelated events. First they showed the “marines” practicing ship defense, and they were clearly not aiming upward, but rather to the side of the ship. The video just happened to show the Gripen flyby right after the marines’ practice.
This Gripen didn’t lokk “unarmed” to me. But perhaps the ammo belts were not carrying live rounds?
Also around 1:30 you can see a Finnish Hamina-class FAC.
I wonder how the Russians would react if NATO named a exercise “East”?
The shown Gripen is recce-configured and unarmed. If the Russians are really pointing at the Gripen is not certain. What is clear is that the video has been edited so that it can seem as if they are doing so. From the video it is also clear that a Gripen appeared close to the ship at least twice. The gun-pointing may have been done when the Gripen was not flying over but previously, or afterwards. Or the pointing was done when the plane was not close and then the editing made it seem connected.