Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jets escorting and protecting a plane with the Russian defense minister on board chased away a Spanish NATO F-18 , which tried to shadow it over the Baltic Sea.
Sergey Shoigu was returning from Russia’s Kaliningrad region guarded by two Su-27 escorts, according to Zvezda TV, the television channel of the Russian Defense Ministry.
The NATO war plane armed with two missiles was seen approaching Shoigu’s jet, with the camera filming the F-18 up-close. Moments later, it swerves to the left as it’s chased away by the Sukhoi.
The Su-27 Flanker is a Russian fourth-generation fighter jet that has been around since the 1980’s. The workhorse of the Russian Air Force spawned an entire family of military aircraft used throughout the world.
The F/A-18 Hornet by McDonnell Douglas is a multi-role fighter which has been extensively used by the USA and many of its allies through the years.
The US fleet has been largely upgraded to the Super Hornet model, but older aircraft are used by some of NATO’s European allies or non-member friends, such as Finland.
The one that approached the Russian minister’s plane belongs to Spain, the nation’s Defense Ministry later confirmed.
The aircraft is currently stationed in Lithuania for patrol missions and had been scrambled to visually identify the Russian group, NATO explained.
A similar air encounter over the Baltic Sea was reported in 2016, when Eurofighter Typhoon multi-role fighter jets shadowed Shoigu’s plane. That time, the NATO aircraft kept at a reasonably far distance of about 2 km from the Russian minister’s transport.
The same year, a Russian government plane carrying journalists to cover an international summit in Peru received what was later ironically called an honorary escort from the Swiss Air Force.
President Vladimir Putin, who attended the Latin American event, joked about the incident.
RT. com / ABC Flash Point News 2019.