The Russian Air Force intercepted a flight group of three military aircraft from the French Air Force over the Black Sea on December 8, 2021. 

“To identify air targets and prevent violation of the state border of the Russian Federation, Su-27 fighters from the air defense forces of the Southern Military District were taken into the air,” the Russian Ministry of Defense explained. “The crews of the Russian fighters identified the aerial targets as two tactical fighters ‘Mirage-2000’ and ‘Rafale’, as well as the C-135 tanker aircraft of the French Aerospace Forces, and escorted them over the Black Sea.” 

The Russian Defense Ministry released a video of the interception in which one of the Mirage 2000D can be seen sporting an Airborne Electronic Reconnaissance System (ASTAC) pod. The system can “intercept and analyze tactical and technical data on RF [Radio frequency ‒ ed. note] emissions radiated by land-based radars and weapon systems,” as described by its manufacturer Thales. 

It is the third time this year that observation missions operated by French Mirage 2000Ds have been intercepted by Russian fighters. 

The previous day, Polish F-16 fighter jets deployed at Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania intercepted a Russian IL-20 COOT A reconnaissance aircraft above the Baltic Sea. 

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For the first mission of their deployment, the Polish F-16 fighter jets deployed in Lithuania intercepted a Russian reconnaissance aircraft.