A Russian Su-27 was scrambled to intercept an USAF RC-135 above the Baltic Sea, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Footage of the interception from inside the cockpit was released by the Ministry on March 7, 2019. It is pretty rare to see a video shot from the intercepting aircraft. According to the Ministry, the RC-135 was spotted above the Baltic Sea as it was supposedly approaching the Russian border. The exact date of the interception is unknown.
“The crew of the Russian fighter approached a safe distance to the air object and identified it as a RC-135 spy airplane of the US Air Force,” said the Ministry.
The Boeing RC-135 is a reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft based on the same airframe as the KC-135 tanker, also in use by the USAF.
Interceptions are frequent in the region, and this one is far from being the most impressive. In January 2019, the Ministry had already released footage of a Su-27 intercepting an USAF fighter over the Baltic Sea. At the time, the Russian pilot used a relatively risky maneuver to guide the F-15C away from what was believed to be a governmental plane.
Similarly, NATO reported 780 interceptions on Russian aircraft 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. Currently, that mission is being carried out by the German Luftwaffe and the Polish Air Force.