The Ukrainian Air Force Su-27 That Landed In Romania Flown Back To Ukraine

Ukrainian Su-27
The Ukrainian Su-27 prepares for take off from Bacau on Mar. 1, 2022. (Image credit: Lt. Madelina Burlacu)

The Ukrainian Su-27 that landed at Bacau a few days ago with a full load of air-to-air missiles, has returned home (completely unarmed).

On Feb. 24, 2022, during the opening phases of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a Ukrainian Air Force Su-27 Flanker was intercepted by two Romanian Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) under NATO command after it intruded into the Romanian airspace at 06.15LT. The Flanker, fully loaded with six R-27 (AA-10 ALAMO) medium/extended-range Air-to-Air Missiles and four IR-guided R-73 (AA-11 ARCHER) AAMs, was escorted to the RoAF 95th Air Base in the northeastern Romanian city of Bacău, where it landed at 07.05LT.

According to the Romanian Air Force, After landing, the Ukrainian military pilot was made at the disposal of the Romanian authorities. According to some reports, the aircraft had flown towards Romania after it lost communication with its homebase, under heavy attack by Russian forces.

An image of the Su-27 on the ground at Bacau, Romania. Note the full load of AAMs. (Image credit: Photo credit: MApN)

A video of the aircraft landing in Romania circulated online shortly after the Romanian Air Force made the event public.

The Flanker, bort number 23 Blue, eventually returned home on Mar. 1. Stripped off its load of missiles “in accordance with the national and international legislation”, the Su-27 took off from Bacau along with two RoAF MiG-21 LanceR jets that escorted the Ukrainian fighter to the border of the Romanian airspace.

The fighter jet rocked its wings on take off to salute the bystanders.

It’s not clear where the aircraft headed, completely unarmed, after it entered the Ukrainian airspace, a contested airspace where, although not achieving air superiority, Russian aircraft and SAMs (Surface to Air Missiles), are operating with some significant result. For sure, its destination must have been one of the airports that are still safe, although we can’t completely rule out it recovered on a forward, dispersed highway landing area, like the one Ukrainian Flankers have trained  to use in the recent past: you will probably remember the incident when Ukrainian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 combat aircraft narrowly avoided a more serious accident when it landed short and collided with a traffic sign during an expedient tactical airstrip training exercise on Aug. 27, 2020.

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.