It seems a pretty standard intercept. What’s interesting is the fact that you can see it from the cockpit of a Russian Flanker.
Close encounters between Russian fighters and U.S. spyplanes and bombers (and viceversa) have occurred for decades now.
For years, the way these “interactions” occurred have remained classified or rarely made the news until a few years ago. Then reports of Russian Su-27s buzzing (and sometimes performing barrel rolls over) U.S. RC-135s started to emerge and the Pentagon often protested for the “reckless” and “unprofessional” behaviour of the Russian pilots flying dangerously close to this or that American aircraft.
A former RC-135 aircraft commander who flew the S, U, V, W, and X models, commenting the intercepts, once told us “what passes for dangerous and provocative today was ho-hum to recon crews of my generation (although we weren’t shot at like the early fliers from 1950-1960).”
That said, we have often published shots of U.S. spyplanes during unsafe intercepts by Su-27 but we have never seen footage filmed from inside the cockpit of the Russian fighters dispatched to visually identify and escort the American aircraft.
Until yesterday, when the Russian MoD released a clip showing a Flanker approaching a high-flying RC-135 somewhere over the Baltic Sea. Interesting, even though it does not show anything nefarious.
Here it is:
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