A Russian Su-27 fighter jet intercepted a U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber about 10 a.m. over the Baltic Sea as the American warplane was flying a routine mission in international airspace, according to the Pentagon, which confirmed an earlier report by the Russian state media news agency Tass.
On June 1, Air Force officials announced that they would deploy the B-52s to the region to support the Operation Saber Strike, BALTOPS, and Arctic Challenge exercises, along with the members of various NATO militaries as well as Finland and Sweden.
“Training with Allies and joint partners improves coordination between Allies and enables the U.S. Air Force to build enduring relationships necessary to confront a broad range of global challenges,” service officials wrote in a June 1 press release.
“A number of intercepts like this take place on a regular basis. The vast majority are conducted in a safe manner,” Pentagon spokesperson Cmdr. Sarah Higgins told Defense One.
Despite that, intercepts can be hair-raising, as seen in this 2014 Russian intercept of a P-3 Orion over the Baltic Sea.
In the video, the Russian jet can be seen flashing its missiles at the Portuguese Air Force P-3.
The Pentagon would not say how this morning’s intercept event played out, saying only that “The crew that was involved is still supporting the exercise,” said Higgins. No changes have been announced to any of the exercises.