Military Aviation


The intercept, which took place on Nov. 23, 2017, was initiated because the Russian aircraft did not broadcast the appropriate codes required by air traffic control and had no flight plan on file

The U.S. Air Force’s 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron (EFS) will stand down from its NATO Baltic Air Policing mission next week and the service has posted a video showing the F-15C fighters intercepting Russian Navy Su-30s.

According to the video description the intercept, which took place on Nov. 23, 2017, was initiated because the Russian aircraft did not broadcast the appropriate codes required by air traffic control and had no flight plan on file. Intercepts are a regular occurrence, and U.S. Air Force (USAF) pilots routinely conduct them in a safe and professional manner.

As previously reported the USAF deployed Airmen and aircraft from RAF Lakenheath to Šiauliai Air Base, Lithuania, for approximately four months to conduct the NATO peacetime air policing mission.

The 493rd EFS F-15C fighter pilots can detect and track aircraft and small high-speed targets at distances beyond visual range down to close range, and at altitudes down to treetop level.

“When the Combined Air Operations Center, monitoring the Baltic skies in Germany identifies an aircraft that is not squawking [talking to regional air traffic control] or on a registered flight plan, they notify the wing operations center here in Siauliai, who alerts us to respond,” said USAF Lt. Col. Clint Guenther, 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron detachment commander, to Tech. Sgt. Matthew Plew, 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs, for his article Eagles safeguard Baltic sovereignty. “From that moment, we are airborne within fifteen minutes of that notification to interrogate that aircraft.”

F-15C Eagles can be configured with air-to-air weaponry such as the AIM-120 AMRAAM missile on its lower fuselage corners and the AIM-9X Sidewinder or AIM-120 missiles on two pylons under the wings, along with an internal mounted M61A1 Vulcan 20mm, six-barrel cannon with 940 rounds of ammunition in the right wing root, allowing it to provide all-weather, day or night air superiority.

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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