Intercepts between Russian and American aircraft over the Baltic Sea have become fairly common in recent years, as tensions between Russia and NATO continues to simmer throughout the region. Often, these interactions are considered both safe and professional, with occasional headlines cropping up regarding the aggressive behavior exhibited by Russian pilots.
According to some pilots, these sorts of intercepts were just as common, and often, quite a bit more aggressive, back during the Cold War — but what makes these modern intercepts so interesting is how common it now is to get footage of them.
This video, released earlier this week, shows a Russian Su-27 Flanker closing with an American RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft operating somewhere over the Baltic Sea. The intercept itself was notably professional (which is likely why the Kremlin saw fit to release the footage) but what makes this situation so exceptional is getting to watch footage captured from inside the Russian fighter as it closed with the American jet.
For those of us that have worn a uniform in service to the United States, riding along in this video as a Russian fighter closes with an American aircraft is a surreal experience.