US F-22 fighters chase off Russian warplanes over Syria
A pair of US fighter jets on Wednesday intercepted two Russian jets over a part of Syria they were not supposed to be in, military officials said Thursday.
One US pilot had to “aggressively maneuver” to avoid a midair collision according to a Pentagon spokesperson.
The Russian Su-22s had entered airspace controlled by the US-led coalition against ISIS when they were promptly intercepted by the American F-22 Raptors.
“The F-22s conducted multiple maneuvers to persuade the Su-25s to depart our deconflicted airspace, including the release of chaff and flares in close proximity to the Russian aircraft and placing multiple calls on the emergency channel to convey to the Russian pilots that they needed to depart the area,” he added.
Russia has challenged coalition airspace regularly ever since agreeing to a de-confliction agreement in November that required Russia to keep its forces west of the Euphrates river.
“Since agreeing to this deconfliction arrangement, the Russians have flown into our airspace on the east side of the river six to eight times per day, or approximately 10 percent of the Russian and Syrian flights,” Pentagon Spokesman Pahon said.
“It’s become increasingly tough for our pilots to discern whether Russian pilots’ actions are deliberate or if these are just honest mistakes,” Pahon said.
Six to eight times a day? Well certainly that can’t be considered “gross negligence” on the part of Russian pilots. It must be just “extreme carelessness” on the part of these Russian pilots.
Nothing to see here. Let’s move along.