Russian Fighter Intercepts US Navy Surveillance Plane Over Baltic Sea

A Russian SU-27 fighter intercepted a US Navy P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft—like the one shown above—over the Baltic Sea on Jan. 28, 2019, US European Command has confirmed. Navy photo by MC2 Juan Sua.

A Russian Su-27 twin-engine fighter intercepted a US Navy P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft over the Baltic Sea on Jan. 28, US European Command has confirmed to Air Force Magazine.

“Russian means of airspace control over the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea detected an air target approaching the State border of the Russian Federation,” Russia’s defense ministry wrote in a Jan. 28 statement, explaining that the Russian fighter “scrambled to intercept” the aircraft. After approaching it at “a safe distance,” the statement said, the Su-27 identified it as an American Poseidon, though the aircraft was mischaracterized as a US Air Force asset.

In a EUCOM statement the Navy shared with Air Force Magazine, the command declined to elaborate on the incident, citing a policy of not discussing “specific details” about US-Russian air and sea interactions “unless an interaction is unsafe.”

“Our aircraft and ships routinely interact with Russian units in international airspace and seas and most interactions are safe and professional,” the statement said.

The intercept comes two days after two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack bombers flew into the Canadian Air Defense Identification Zone. The bombers, which did not cross into sovereign airspace, were identified by five North American Aerospace Defense Command aircraft, including an E-3 AWACS, two F-22 fighters, and two CF-18 fighters, according to a tweet from the command.