Russian Su-27 Flanker Escorting plane carrying Russia’s defense minister shooed NATO Spanish EF-18 Hornet away
A Spanish fighter jet in Lithuania on a NATO mission scrambled to intercept a plane carrying the Russian defense minister, but a Russian Su-27 fighter intervened. The aircraft is a Spanish Air Force EF-18, one of the 5 jets currently deployed to Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, for BAP mission.
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.
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).
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.
It’s not the first time a Flanker escorting the Russian defense minister’s jet has maneuvered toward a NATO jet.
In the last few years, US officials have often complained for Russian Su-27 performing “aggressive maneuvers” against American aircraft.