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.
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.