An Instagram account claiming to be of a Russian fighter pilot posted a video showing a Russian fighter jet (probably Su-30SM) making a dangerous pass ahead of a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft flying above Syria.
The video appears to show a Russian fighter jet in flight turning in front of the remotely piloted aircraft.
It is not clear how old the video, nor if it is actually in Syria; this video first appeared on the alleged pilot’s Instagram account.
It should be noted that MQ-9 Reaper is an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft that has turboprop engine. Russian fighter can produce “jetwash” or wake turbulence that that poses a serious risk to nearby aircraft and especially for remotely piloted aircraft.
The Russian and U.S. forces in Syria maintain a deconfliction line that is supposed to reduce dangerous situations like this; however, the two world powers have come across one another in previous flights before.
0n September 24, 2018, Russian Su-35S fighter jets intercept U.S. F-22 Raptor flying over Syria. A photograph posted by unofficial Russia’s military pilot Instagram account has confirmed an intercept of the U.S. F-22 Raptor Raptor combat aircraft by the Russian Su-35S fighter jet.
on October 4, 2018, Russian Fighter jets made radar lock on B-52 bomber flying above Syria. An Instagram account claiming to be of a Russian pilot of a fighter jet posted a picture purportedly of a US B-52 Stratofortress heavy long-range bomber flying above Syria.
In May, a Russian jet closed to within 20 feet of a Navy P-8 Poseidon plane over the Baltic Sea.
Five months earlier, another Russian Su-27 got within five feet of a Navy Aries aircraft before crossing the American plane’s path, forcing it to enter the Russian fighter’s flight wash.
And in November of 2017, a P-8 flew through the wake of another Russian jet’s afterburners, causing the American plane to roll 15 degrees and suffer what U.S. officials claimed was “violent turbulence.”
These sorts of interactions are supposed to be guided by the 1972 Agreement for the Prevention of of Incidents On and Over the High Seas, or INCSEA.