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New Video Shows F-15s Intercepting Russian Fighters Near The Baltics

U.S. Air Force F-15s from RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom, intercept two Russian Navy SU-30 Flankers in international airspace near the Baltics in Nov and Dec 2017. Credit: Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa

U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa this week released new video of two occasions in November and December 2017 where U.S. Air Force F-15s from RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom, were called to intercept Russian fighters near the Baltics.

Both intercepts were initiated because Russian Navy Su-30 Flankers “did not broadcast the appropriate codes required by air traffic control and had no flight plan on file,” said the U.S. Air Force.

The F-15s are with the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, belonging to the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, but were deployed to Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania, as part of a four-month NATO  Baltic peacetime air policing mission.

They’ve conducted approximately 30 intercepts with the objective to ensure the sovereignty of the Baltic airspace.

At the end of the video, Lt. Col. Cody Blake, 493rd Fighter Squadron commander, provides answers to questions on intercepts and the Baltic Air Policing mission.

A U.S. RC-135U flying in international airspace over the Baltic Sea was intercepted by a Russian SU-27 June 19, 2017. Photo: USAF/European Command

Back in June, another intercept occurred over the Baltic Sea which was deemed as “unsafe” when an armed Russian SU-27 Flanker met up with a U.S. RC-135U reconnaissance plane in international airspace, coming very close with a high rate of closure speed and poor control of the aircraft.

The Russian jet reportedly came within just 5 feet of the wingtip, before flying under and coming up off the other wingtip. Russia’s Defense Ministry said the U.S. plane “swerved dangerously” towards the Russian jet, but the U.S. military claimed the flight crew did nothing to provoke the incident.

Another similar intercept occurred just a month prior too, when another Russian jet came within 20 feet of a U.S. NAVY P-8A Poseidon over the Black Sea.

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Mike Killian

Written by Mike Killian

Killian is an aerospace photographer and writer, with a primary focus on spaceflight and military and civilian aviation. Over the years his assignments have brought him onboard NASA's space shuttles, in clean rooms with spacecraft destined for other worlds, front row for launches of historic missions and on numerous civilian and military flight assignments.

When not working the California-native enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, storm chasing, producing time-lapses and shooting landscape and night sky imagery, as well as watching planes of course.

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