A Russian Su-27 intercepted a flight of B-1 and B-52 bombers during exercises taking place over the Baltic Sea.
The Russian Defense Ministry said it scrambled an Su-27 fighter over the Baltics to to intercept and escort a US B-52 strategic bomber that neared Russian airspace.
US Department of Defense spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis said:
“There was a routine and safe intercept that occurred during that [BALTOPS exercise]. This was not one we believe falls into the category of unsafe.”
BALTOPS (Baltic Operations) is an annual military exercise in the Baltic Sea and the regions surrounding it.
The purpose of BALTOPS according to the US Navy is “is to train gunnery, replenishment at sea, anti-submarine warfare, radar tracking & interception, mine countermeasures, seamanship, search and rescue, maritime interdiction operations and scenarios dealing with potential real world crises and maritime security.”
Three B-52H Stratofortresses from Barksdale Air Force Base began missions in support of Baltic Operations on June the 6th and have bene joined by B-1 bombers.
The bombers are participating in the 45th edition of BALTOPS exercise which provides an opportunity for bomber crews to integrate with NATO allies and partner nations.
U.S. Air Force Capt. Fleming Thompson, 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron weapons officer said:
“On a strategic level, we’re trying to demonstrate to our NATO allies that we can combine forces. On a tactical level, we’re breaking down the details to figure out exactly what we need to do and how to do it in order to accomplish the mission.”
The exercise will involve maritime, ground and air forces to ‘strengthen combined response capabilities necessary to ensure regional stability’.