We now have obtained a photograph of one of many two Su-30 Flankers intercepted by the Italian F-35 jets over the Baltic Sea final week.
On Sept. 21, 2023, two F-35A jets of the Italian Air Pressure Process Pressure Air – thirty second Wing, carried out the primary QRA (Fast Response Alert) launch from Malbork Air Base, Poland, the place the Italian Lightning II plane are presently deployed underneath NATO command to help the Baltic Air Policing mission.
The scramble was ordered by the Mixed Air Operations Middle (CAOC) primarily based at Uedem in Germany, which is the NATO unit liable for the monitoring of all radar tracks of suspicious plane approaching or trying to enter protected NATO airspace.
The Italian F-35s had been launched to research unknown plane flying in worldwide airspace over the Baltic Sea with out FPL (Flight Plan) and with out being contact with the ATC (Air Site visitors Management). The unknown plane turned out to be Russian Naval Aviation Su-30SM Flanker jets.
Initially, the Italian Air Pressure didn’t launch any picture of the intercepted Russian jets, however we have now obtained a photograph of one of many “zombies” (as unknown plane are nicknamed in interceptor pilots lingo) because of NATO Allied Air Command.
Curiously, the Su-30 depicted within the picture seems to be unarmed. Its bort quantity, 84 blue, makes the plane one of the vital fashionable Su-30SM2 airframes assigned to the 4th Guards Naval Assault Aviation Regiment of the Baltic Fleet Aviation. In comparison with the Su-30SM, the Su-30SM2 options upgraded avionics, ECM and radar management programs, in addition to the flexibility to hold extra weapons.
As per customary air policing procedures, the Italian F-35s shadowed the Russian Flankers, remaining in worldwide airspace, till they approached Russian airspace (most likely close to Kaliningrad Oblast).
The “Process Pressure Air – thirty second Wing”, operates F-35A plane belonging to the 32° Stormo (Wing) of Amendola and the sixth Wing of Ghedi. Its goal is to make sure the integrity and safety of NATO airspace, “thus contributing to strengthening the protection and deterrence posture on NATO’s japanese flank.”
The Italian Air Pressure F-35s will not be new to the air policing mission, having deployed to Iceland and Estonia multiple times since 2019. And the one on Sept. 21, 2023, just isn’t the primary time an Italian F-35 has an in depth encounter with a Russian Su-30SM. The primary time the 2 sorts had been concerned in an in depth encounter was in 2021. Regardless of the intercept was fairly uneventful, the pictures of the 2 plane flying collectively had been used one year later for some utterly made up experiences that modified the narrative, stating that the intercept had been carried out by the Russian plane on the Italian one, and that the F-35 pilot had been taken abruptly by the Su-30: a faux information that even included quotes of the pilot (though no ItAF Lightning II pilot had ever been approved to speak to the media…).
The Italian F-35s perform the QRA service in Iceland with the identical configuration used to help the home SSSA (Servizio Sorveglianza Spazio Aereo – Air Area Surveillance Service) on a rotational foundation, the place the SCL (Normal Typical Load) consists of two AIM-120C5 AMRAAM (Superior Medium Vary Air-to-Air Missile) missiles within the inner weapons bay. The Italian jets fly on this “lighter” configuration, in comparison with Norwegian ones, as they don’t have a short-range air-to-air missile, however this may change quickly as AIM-9X Sidewinder AAMs (Air-to-Air Missiles) have been ordered.