U.S. F-15s performing Estonia independence flyby diverted to intercept Russian spyplane

U.S. F-15s scheduled to perform a flyover in Estonia, intercepted a Russian spyplane then took part to the parade.

On Feb. 24, Estonia celebrated its independence day.

Part of the celebrations was also a military parade in the city of Pärnu. U.S. F-15C fighters belonging to the 48th FW, currently deployed to Lithuania’s first air base in Zokniai, near Siauliai, took part to the flyby but they were forced to do double duty since they were first diverted to intercept a Russian plane.

Unfortunately,  no details about the aircraft that was intercepted were released. The official statement by Estonian authorities says only: “Fighters identified the plane as a spy plane belonging to Russia.”

The U.S. Air Force has four F-15s from RAF Lakenheath deployed to Lithuania to undertake air policing in the Baltic states. The aircraft have replaced the Belgian F-16AMs and, since January, they guard the airspace over Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, whose air defense is provided on a rotational basis by 14 NATO states since 2004.

Aircraft on QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) at Siauliai are often scrambled by CRP (Control and Reporting Post) of Amari, Estonia, to intercept Il-20 spyplanes, Tu-22M Backfire bombers and Su-27 fighter jets, skirting Baltic states airspaces as images posted in 2013 show.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force


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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.