Cockpit Video From Inside A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer As The bomber Is intercepted Over The Baltic By A Russian Su-27 Flanker

Jun 12 2017 - 16 Comments

The Su-27 intercept as seen from the cockpit of the B-1B bomber over the Baltic Sea.

Our friends at Air Forces Monthly have obtained a pretty interesting footage: filmed from inside the cockpit of a “Bone” temporarily deployed to RAF Fairford, UK, to take part in BALTOPS exercise, the short clipo shows a Russian Naval Aviation’s Su-27 Flanker approaching the B-1B’s starboard wing, then banking to pass below the nose of the Lancer.

“AFM was told the Russian pilot acted in a non-aggressive manner throughout the manoeuvre, which saw the fighter assume position off the starboard side before banking and descending below the B-1,” says the story published on AFM’s website.

It’s not clear whether the clip was filmed on the very same day these fantastic shots were taken by U.S. Air Force photographer Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder from the boom position of a KC-135 tanker as a really unusual “formation” consisting of 2x B-1s, 1x B-52 and 1x KC-135 were involved in a photo hop in international airspace over the Baltic Sea when they were joined by a Su-27 Flanker on Friday Jun. 9.  In that case the U.S. Air Force stated that the intercept was conducted in a safe and professional way, in contrast with what happened after several previous incidents that the U.S. DoD defined “unsafe” or “unprofessional” with the Russian interceptors maneuvering aggressively in proximity of the American aircraft (read here or here for a couple of examples.)

Indeed, to be honest, the above clip seems to show the Su-27 dangerously close to the U.S. bomber, much more than one would expect from a “safe” maneuver: however, it might be a matter of perspective…

According to AFM, the Flanker in the intercept footage is a Su-27P interceptor belonging to the Fighter Aviation Squadron of the 72 Aviatsionnaya Baza (AvB, Aviation Base) of the Morskaya Aviatsiya Baltiyskogo Flota (MA BF, Naval Aviation of the Baltic Fleet), based at Chkalovsk air base in Kaliningrad Oblast.

H/T Thomas Newdick (@CombatAir) for posting the video.

  • athensoh

    it does look close. Did the Russian pilot salute to B-1B just before banking (5th second)?

    • whatever

      Sure looks like that!

  • leroy

    Think the Bone crew didn’t know the Flanker was coming? If it had wanted to, it could have lit its afterburners and left the Su-27 in the proverbial dust while an F-22 flying overhead would have effortlessly blown the Sukhoi out of the sky. That’s how it would work in the “real” world. You do know what I mean by “real”, don’t you?

    • Holztransistor

      The B-1B is not faster than the Su-27. Low RCS came at a price.

      In the “real” world, I would go after high value targets like tankers, Because NATO depends a lot on them.

    • Cocidius

      OMG – stop with the nonsense. As many have already stated the Flanker is much faster than the B-1.

      • Renato Dallarmi

        why do you want to deprive of Leroy’s stars & stripe blanket?

  • Chugs 1984

    beautiful. its a shame that we’re dependant on tanker aircraft crew for this stuff. It’s a shame that our aircraft don’t have camera’s shooting at all angles around them.

    I would have thought at least for reconnaisse and patrol flights, especially after the Chinese J-8 crashed into that EP-3E ARIES II signals intelligence aircraft, that having camera’s to capture these sorts of incidents would ensure that aggressive pilots would be at least caught stuffing up, or intimidated into not doing these sorts of maneuvers

  • Robert Kramer

    Very unprofessional.

  • Pepe Le Cox

    These are R-27ER/ET with modified software and engines, you dont need to change all the missile to make it better, By the way, they dont need to lock the target like the old fashion DCS style to launch a SARH missile, that is ancient history! :D

  • leroy

    Yes! Russians fly in an unprofessional manner, and it will cost them if they ever go to war. They lack discipline. Plus the fact that they are not as well trained as U.S. and NATO pilots. They can’t afford the gas.

    • Holztransistor

      Actually, the low oil price and the fact that they have their own oil benefits them a lot. They have more than enough kerosene. You’re still thinking they’re stuck in the 90s, which is wrong.

      • Chugs 1984

        Russia is like the biggest exporter of oil hence the huge oil war that is going on, with the US destabiling the price of oil in a bid to punish/collapse the Russians (like they did in 1990 in the red herring gulf war with Iraq)

  • Holztransistor

    In another video the bombers are escorted by 2 Eurofighters. And here’s the twitter post from the Pentagon:

    Quote: “The intercept was deemed safe.”

    • cencio4

      The video was taken 2 days later: on Jun. 11. You can see the clouds below the aircraft whilst in the Jun. 9 photographs the sky is pretty much clear.

  • Polaris1

    Why was it only a single Russian ? Why wasn’t there two ?

  • alan

    Doesn’t matter – it’s a B-52 they are intercepting. Don’t forget that missiles have life spans too, you can only fly with them so much.