A U.S. Air Force RC-135 strategic reconnaissance aircraft was escorted by a Russian Aerospace Force Su-27 fighter jet over the Black Sea, the Russian Defence Ministry said Wednesday.
According to a report, on July 14, Russian airspace control systems detected an aerial target over the Black Sea approaching Russia’s state border. A Su-27 fighter jet of the Southern Military District’s air defense quick reaction alert forces was scrambled to prevent a violation of the Russian state border.
“The Russian fighter’s crew identified the aerial target as a US Air Force RC-135 strategic reconnaissance plane and shadowed it over the Black Sea,” the statement says.
After the foreign plane made a U-turn from Russia’s state border, the fighter safely returned to its home airfield, the National Defense Control Center said.
U.S. Air Force RC-135 recon jet was escorted by a Russian Su-27 fighter jet over the Black Sea pic.twitter.com/c3DNX4WeTZ
— Dylan Malyasov (@DylanMalyasov) July 15, 2021
“The Russian fighter’s flight proceeded in strict compliance with the international rules of using the airspace,” the statement says.
The RC-135 Rivet Joint is a strategic reconnaissance aircraft designed to support theater and national level consumers with near real-time on-scene intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination capabilities.
According to the U.S. Air Force website, the current RC-135 fleet is the latest iteration of modifications to this pool of -135 aircraft going back to 1962. Initially employed by Strategic Air Command to satisfy nationally tasked intelligence collection requirements, the RC-135 fleet has also participated in every sizable armed conflict involving U.S. assets during its tenure.