North Atlantic Treaty Organisation F-18 ‘spooked away’ from Russian Defense Minister’s plane

A Russian air force Su-27 fighter jet bottom wards off a Nato F-18 warplane over the Baltic Sea

A Russian air force Su-27 fighter jet bottom wards off a Nato F-18 warplane over the Baltic Sea

Shoigu's aircraft had been returning to Moscow from the Russian Baltic region of Kaliningrad - which is surrounded by Poland and Lithuania - and was carrying a TASS reporter on board, the agency said.

Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jets convoying a plane with the Russian defense minister on board chased away a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation F-18, which tried to shadow it over the Baltic Sea.

As already explained in the past, Su-27 Flankers flying in global airspace from mainland Russian Federation to Kaliningrad and back, often escorting other aircraft (including Tu-22, Tu-134 and An-72 jets) are frequently intercepted by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation fighters in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert). 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).

Shoigu had taken part in Kaliningrad ceremony of laying the foundation for the construction of a new educational institution - a branch of the Nakhimov Naval School, and also attended the Armi-2019 Sea Landing competition at the Khmelevka training ground.

"Jets from NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission scrambled to identify the aircraft which flew close to Allied airspace".

Russian media reported a similar event involving a plane carrying Shoigu in June 2017, saying the minister's plane was "buzzed" by a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation jet over the Baltic Sea before being chased away by escort planes.

Encounters between Russian and US, as well as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation warplanes, have increased as Moscow seeks to demonstrate its resurgent military might.

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