Another day, another Top Gun stunt in the Baltic.
On Apr. 29, a Russian Su-27 Flanker “barrel rolled” over the top of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 which was flying a recon mission in international airspace above the Baltic Sea, the CNN reported.
The Russian interceptor approached alongside within 25 feet of the U.S. intelligence gathering aircraft and then flew inverted over the top of the plane to the other side, performing the same Top Gun-like stunt another Su-27 had carried out on a Rivet Joint over the Baltic on Apr. 14.
Still, such aggressive maneuvers are becoming dangerously frequent during the routine close encounters between American spyplanes and Russian fighters in the skies across the world. On Jan. 25, 2016 a U.S. RC-135 intelligence gathering jet was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 Flanker fighter jet over Black Sea: during the interception, the Su-27 made an aggressive turn that disturbed the controllability of the RC-135.
On Apr. 7, 2015 another Su-27 flew within 20 feet of an RC-135U, over the Baltic Sea.
On Apr. 23, 2015 a U.S. Air Force RC-135U Combat Sent performing a routine surveillance mission in international airspace over the Sea of Okhotsk, north of Japan, some 60 miles off eastern Russia was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 Flanker that crossed the route of the U.S. aircraft putting itself within 100 feet of the Combat Sent.
So, it looks like these “aerobatic maneuvers” performed by the Russian Flankers out of Kaliningrad oblast are becoming a de-facto standard in interceptions carried out by the RuAF Su-27s over the Baltic Sea (unless it’s always the same pilot). A bit unprofessional and much dangerous.
Image credit: Crown Copyright