Footage of a Russian Su-27 intercepting a US F-15C over the Baltic Sea has emerged online. The first fighter jet fended off the second by executing a dangerously close maneuver.
The Russian Su-27 can be seen approaching the US F-15C from the right, before turning left at very close range in the direction of the fighter jet, forcing it to break away from the recording aircraft.
The circumstances of the event are unclear. The incident might have happened during the second half of 2017, and took place over the Baltic Sea. According to Russian media, the footage might have been shot from a governmental plane that the F-15C proceeded to intercept. The American fighter jet has been identified by The Drive as part of the USAF 493rd ‘Grim Reapers’ Fighter Squadron based at RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom.
While impressive, the situation is not rare. Russian Air Force regularly intercepts NATO aircraft in the area. As recently as January 28, 2019, a Su-27 was scrambled to intercept an American reconnaissance aircraft P-8A Poseidon that was cruising over the Baltic Sea, on approach towards the Russian airspace. The Russian Ministry of Defense published a video of the incident, while commenting to Gazeta that 19 foreign aircraft were observed at the Russian borders the same week.
Similarly, 780 interceptions on Russian aircraft were carried out by NATO in the Baltic airspace in 2016. Baltic Air Policing is one of the main missions of NATO air forces. It protects Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian airspaces from incursions, as these countries have no airborne capability of their own.