A Ukrainian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 has been returned to the embattled country six days after a pilot fled with the two-engine fighter to Romania in the first hours of the Russian invasion.
According to some reports, the aircraft had flown towards Romania after it lost communication with its home base, under heavy attack by Russian forces.
On Feb. 24, 2022, during the opening phases of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a Ukrainian Air Force Su-27 Flanker was intercepted by two Romanian Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons in QRA under NATO command after it intruded into the Romanian airspace at 06.15LT.
The Flanker, fully loaded with six R-27 (AA-10 ALAMO) medium/extended-range Air-to-Air Missiles and four IR-guided R-73 (AA-11 ARCHER) AAMs, was escorted to the RoAF 95th Air Base in the northeastern Romanian city of Bacău, where it landed at 07.05LT.
A video of the aircraft landing in Romania circulated online shortly after the Romanian Air Force made the event public.
The Flanker, bort number 23 Blue, eventually returned home on Mar. 1. Stripped off its load of missiles “in accordance with the national and international legislation”, the Su-27 took off from Bacau along with two RoAF MiG-21 LanceR jets that escorted the Ukrainian fighter to the border of the Romanian airspace.
Video of the Su-27 departing Romania was posted to social media today, showing the pilot dipping the jet’s wings in salute immediately after taking off.
While the return of the Su-27 is no doubt a welcome addition to the Ukrainian Air Force as Russia continues its assault on the country, the European Union’s (EU) proposed plan to send additional aircraft to Ukraine stalled today.
Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, announced on February 27 that EU nations would provide Ukraine with a military assistance package valued at 450 million Euros (over $501 million) that would allow the country to acquire additional fighter jets from unspecified EU states.
Borrell indicated that these aircraft would be ones that the Ukrainian Air Force already operates so that they could get them into combat quickly.