Two French Mirage 2000 tactical bombers were escorted by a Russian Su-27 fighter over the waters of the Black Sea. The two aircraft turned back without violating Russian airspace.
“On October 26, radar reconnaissance systems of the air defense forces of the Southern Military District detected two air targets approaching the state border of the Russian Federation over the Black Sea,” the National Defense Control Center reported. “To identify air targets and prevent violation of the state border of the Russian Federation, a Su-27 fighter was scrambled.” The two targets were identified as Mirage 2000 fighters of the French Air Force. The Mirage 2000 is a multirole fighter jet developed by Dassault Aviation in the 1970s.
According to the footage released by the Russian Ministry of Defense, they appear to be Mirage 2000D tactical bombers. The D (Diversified) variant is an updated version of the airframe with two seats. Based on the Mirage 2000N (Nuclear), which was the main nuclear strike platform of the French Air Force until 2018, the Mirage 2000D was designed for long-range precision strikes using conventional weapons. As for the nuclear role, it has since been taken over by the Rafale, another Dassault aircraft.
In July 2020, the French Ministry of Armed Forces reported operating 117 Mirage 2000 aircraft, including 70 2000D tactical bombers. The latter are all based in Nancy-Ochey Air Base 133, in eastern France.
Earlier on October 26, 2020, another Russian Su-27 fighter intercepted a German Navy P-3C Orion patrol aircraft and a United States Air Force U-2S reconnaissance aircraft in the Baltic Sea region, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported.