TechRussian Su-27 scrambles to escort French aircraft over Black Sea

Russian Su‑27 scrambles to escort French aircraft over Black Sea

Su-27 - reference photo
Su-27 - reference photo
Images source: © PAP | David Tanecek
11:13 AM EST, March 6, 2024

The Russian Ministry of Defense announced that on Tuesday, March 5th, a Su-27 fighter jet from the Russian Federation's Aerospace Forces escorted an E-3 Sentry aircraft and two Rafale fighters belonging to the French army over the Black Sea, as reported by the Defense Romania portal.

Russian air control systems detected three targets approaching the Russian Federation last Tuesday. The Russians stated that, to "prevent the violation of the air border, a Su-27 fighter jet was launched". The Tass agency reported that the identified targets were an E-3 Sentry early warning aircraft and two Rafale fighters. These aircraft, belonging to the French Air Force, changed their course and moved away from the Russian border upon the approach of the Russian aircraft.

Defense Romania noted that the aircraft intercepted by the Russians on March 5th may have arrived a day earlier at the 86th Air Base Borcea in Romania. It is suggested that the French conducted joint maneuvers there, simulating intercepts of hostile units alongside Romanian and Turkish F-16s.

The incident over the Black Sea: Russia's Su-27 scrambled

The Su-27 interceptor fighter, utilized by the Russian Federation's military, has been in production since 1980, with its development beginning in the 1970s. The production of the Su-27 continued until 2019.

The Su-27 is powered by two Saturn Liulka AL-31F turbofan twin-flow engines, each providing a thrust of approximately 16,910 lbs. The aircraft's wingspan is almost 49 ft, and its total length is over 70.5 ft. With a weight of about 36,155 lbs, the aircraft can carry a maximum of approximately 13,228 lbs of armament on 10 hardpoints, including a variety of guided missiles like the R-27R, R-73, or R-60. Additionally, the Su-27 is armed with a single GSh-31-1 caliber 30 mm cannon.

The maximum speed of the Su-27 is around Mach 1.3, or about 839 mph at sea level, and it can reach Mach 2.3 (1,521 mph) at high altitudes. The aircraft's tactical ceiling is 57,415 ft, and it has a range of about 2,330 miles.

The intercepted French aircraft include a Boeing E-3 Sentry, an early warning and air space surveillance aircraft. It can detect air objects within almost 249 miles using its panoramic radar AN/APY-1 and the radio identification system friend-or-foe INF/TADIL C.

The other two aircraft intercepted were Dassault Rafale fighters, multi-role jets produced since the late 1990s. Capable of speeds over Mach 1.8 (1,324 mph) and operating at a ceiling of 55,118 ft, they are equipped for various tasks and can carry air-to-air missiles MBDA MICA IR/EM, AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-132 ASRAAM, and air-to-ground MBDA Apache, SCALP EG, AM 39 Exocet, among others.

Related content