From: Beijing, China - Paris, France
Some time ago this picture was leaked. It was taken from a Swedish signal intelligence plane flying well inside Swedish air space.
Perhaps we might want to be careful about the sort of info we spread. This was taken in international airspace (unless the reports I have read were wrong). This Su-27 didn't intrude into Swedish air space, nor was the Swedish plane inside Russian air space of course.
Doesn't make the Su-27's intimidation legal or acceptable of course, just saying we have a fighter playing with its food on a plane that is obviously collecting SIGINT, perhaps in the vicinity of Kaliningrad. And when we say "international airspace", in reality it simply means anything beyond 12 nautical miles, which means that spy planes might very well fly less than 30 klicks from the coastline they monitor - and know very well that it's a dangerous game that is played both ways (sometimes tragically if we take the US Orion Hainan incident in 2001 as an example). It's been decades, that's what these guys are paid for - on both sides of the aisle.
The Russians enjoy scaring these intel teams with gross intimidation (not switching on transponders, flying in a dangerous way). The Swedish complain, call it provocative but never take actual action, because obviously the plane ain't sightseeing (although obviously the Swedes having found pieces of Russian naval equipment, sometimes whole, along their coast, are well-aware of how this sort of intel gathering activity feels to the monitored side). Part of the deal, until something stupid happens.
< Message edited by Fishbed -- 9/25/2020 6:12:03 AM >