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Russian Su-27 “Photobombed” In Dramatic Intercept Of US Bombers Over Baltic Sea

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

One month after the US intercepted Russian tactical bombers flying in proximity to Alaska on several occasions, and just four days after Russia returned the favor earlier this week when a Russian Su-27 was scrambled to “accompany” a US B-52 bomber flying over the Baltic Sea, on June 9 a Russian fighter jet was “photobombed” in a series of dramatic photos while intercepting a group of US warplanes over the Baltic Sea during annual military drills over the Baltic Sea, the US Department of Defense said.

Several still photos released by the Defense Department’s DVIDS show a Russian Su-27 intercepting a U.S. Air Force B-52H, 2nd Bomb Wing. Another DVIDS photo captures the Russian plane intercepting a formation of U.S. Air Force aircraft, including two B-1B Lancers, a KC-135R Stratotanker and B-52H Stratofortress

#Photobomb! A #Russian Su-27 Flanker got into our shot ???? during a #BALTOPS sortie over the #BalticSea today. The intercept was deemed safe. pic.twitter.com/SMwGfE2QYr

— U.S. Dept of Defense (@DeptofDefense) June 9, 2017

The US Department of Defense released photo footage showing the Russian jet flying alongside American warplanes, conducting an intercept which US officials said was carried out safely.

A picture I took of a Russian “flanker” fighter on the tail of a @usairforce B-52 bomber over the Baltic Sea today—I was onboard a KC-135 pic.twitter.com/pGbawrCM30

— Nolan Peterson (@nolanwpeterson) June 9, 2017


Another pic I took—A Russian Su-27 fighter merges to intercept 2 @usairforce B1 bombers over the Baltic Sea on June 9 pic.twitter.com/U9AdcvVwzG

— Nolan Peterson (@nolanwpeterson) June 9, 2017

Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said the intercept was considered “safe and professional.”  There was media on board the refueler so there is expected to be video of the intercept.

On Friday, airmen from the active Air Force’s 509th Bomb Wing and the Missouri Air National Guard’s 131st Bomb Wing helped bring two B-2 Spirit bombers to RAF Fairford in the United Kingdom. The unique stealth bombers joined B-1 Bones and B-52 Stratofortresses already at the Royal Air Force base, bringing the trio to the same place for only the second time since the creation of Air Force Global Strike Command in 2009. In August 2016, B-2s made a similar surprise appearance at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam after B-1s and B-52s had already touched down on the island outpost.

What is also unique about the “photobomb” is that as the Drive notes, this is the first example of all three of the U.S. Air Force’s heavy bombers in Europe for the first time since at least 2009.

 Whether the United States intends for the unusual deployment to be a message to Russia or not, the Kremlin has already taken a keen interest in all the activity.

The B-1s and B-52s are in Europe for the annual Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) and Saber Strike exercises. BALTOPS focuses on scenarios in and around the increasingly tense Baltic Sea, while Saber Strike is primarily a ground exercise that spans the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as well as having outstations in Poland and Germany. The Pentagon has not publicly tasked the B-2s with any particular mission beyond reassuring America’s NATO allies and general deterrence.

According to NATO, the BALTOPS exercise takes place from June 7-17, during which time Marines from the US and partner nations “integrate to practice expeditionary, ship-to-shore assaults to enhance their capability to work together as a combined amphibious force.” Along with the multinational amphibious force. the exercise will involve 5,600 troops from air, sea and ground forces across 12 NATO countries (Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the US and the UK) as well as Finland and Sweden.

For BALTOPS and Saber Strike, a variety of other U.S. fighter jets, aerial refueling tankers, and other aircraft from various allied units are taking part, as well. On June 9, 2017, a number of them had gotten together for a photo shoot for the press over the Baltic when a Russian Su-27 Flanker arrived on the scene. The jet, possibly flying from the naval air station in Chkalovsk, Kaliningrad, intercepted the aircraft as they flew in a neat formation through international air space. In addition to the Pentagon’s own photographers, journalists quickly snapped shots of the new arrival and spread them across social media.


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