Russian Su-27 jets escorting Russian MoD intercept NATO EF-18 (vid)

In a sort of remake of something we have already seen and reported in June 2017 and in January 2019, a Russian Su-27 escorting Sergei Shoigu’s jet turned into a NATO jet supporting the NATO Baltic Air Policing (BAP) mission, forcing it to move farther, recently.

In this case, the aircraft dispatched to intercept and shadow the aircraft is a Spanish Air Force EF-18, one of the 5 jets currently deployed to Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, for BAP mission. The Russian jet carrying Shoigu is not the Tu-154 with registration RA-85686 we observed on previous Russia’s MOD trips, but a Tu-204, based on the type of winglet exposed in the video.

Interestingly, the EF-18 appears to be armed with 2x IRIS-T and 2 AIM-120 AMRAAM AAMs (Air-to-Air Missiles) as well as a ventral Litening targeting pod (used in air-to-air mode for visual ID of the target). The Russian Su-27 carries a pair of R-27 and R-73 AAMs, although the exact type and number of missiles is not clear in the footage (as the aircraft turns away from the camera).

According to Zvezda, the close encounter occurred in international airspace over the Baltic. The Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was on his way back from a working trip to Kaliningrad exclave, where he visited the Sea International Landing Army International Games contest at the Khmelevka training ground.

source: The Aviationist