On Apr. 17, 2020, Belgian Air Force F-16s currently deployed to Siauliai, Lithuania, to support NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission intercepted a group of Russian Federation Air Force fighters in the Baltic Sea.
Belgian Air Force F-16s have been filmed intercepting armed Russian fighters as they overfly a US Navy ship in the Baltic Sea. USS Donald Cook, a destroyer with the Navy’s 6th Fleet, was operating off the Lithuanian coast last week, according to the Allied Air Command.
According to the Allied Air Command, “the Russian fighters were maneuvering in international airspace overflying the USS Donald Cook, a US Navy 6th Fleet destroyer currently operating in the Baltic Sea off the Lithuanian coast. The Belgian F-16 conducted a professional intercept and left the scene, demonstrating that NATO remains ready, vigilant and prepared to respond to any potential threat.”
Interestingly, the Belgians released some footage filmed from the cockpit (and through the pilot’s Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System) as the F-16s shadowed the Russian Su-24, Su-27 and Su-30SM.
Video of Friday’s encounter filmed from the cockpit and through a pilot’s ‘Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System’ was released by the Belgians.
The Russian jets – which appear to be armed with air-to-surface missiles – were reportedly flying in international air space.
The BAF F-16s deployed in Lithuania have been quite busy lately:
NATO members routinely rotate their patrols in the Baltic airspace. The US military has made note of recent provocations made by Russian fighter jets.
On April 8, US F-22 fighters intercepted two Russian IL-38s, a maritime patrolling aircraft, entering the Bering Sea in the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone.
A week later, a Russian Su-35 fighter jet buzzed a US Navy P-8A Poseidon, an anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft, flying over the Mediterranean Sea. The Russian jet flew an “inverted maneuver” 25 feet in front of the US aircraft, US Naval Forces Europe-Africa said, adding that the crew of the P-8A Poseidon experienced “wake turbulence” during the 42-minute encounter.
On Sunday, another Su-35 fighter intercepted a P-8A Poseidon over the Mediterranean Sea in a similar fashion.