For the second day in a row, fighters of the Russian air defense forces intercepted a flight group of three military aircraft from the French Air Force over the Black Sea. 

On December 9, 2021, a Mirage 2000D equipped with an Airborne Electronic Reconnaissance System (ASTAC) pod, a Rafale, as well as their supporting A330 MRTT tanker, were escorted by Sukhoi Su-27 fighters as they were flying above the Black Sea.

“In order to identify air targets and prevent violation of the Russian state border, three Su-27 fighters of the air defense forces of the Southern Military District were scrambled,” the Russian Ministry of Defense reported.

The French Defense Staff confirmed that two Russian fighters escorted two French fighters on a surveillance mission in international airspace. They denied, however, that the aircraft were about to violate the Russian state border. “Unlike what has been declared, the French aircraft were not heading for the Russian airspace,” it said in a short video showing the encounter from the cockpit of the Rafale, adding that “neither the mission of the French aircraft nor their freedom to fly in international airspace were hindered by the attitude of the Russian pilots.”

It is the second interaction between French and Russian fighter pilots in two days. A similar observation mission was escorted on December 8, 2021. 

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