F-22s Fire Warning Flares at Russian Jets in Coalition Territory

15 December, 2017, 09:40 | Author: Natasha Holloway
  • Two US fighter jets fired warning flares on Wednesday after two Russian jets entered an agreed de-confliction zone over Syria

American warplanes intercepted Russian fighter jets that flew into coalition airspace in Syria on Wednesday, a Pentagon spokesman said.

The U.S. military said two F-22As fired flares in front of the Russian Su-25 jets that had crossed to the east side of the Euphrates.

Two US F-22 fighters warned the Russian jets off, firing flares, the source added.

One of the officials said a Russian Su-35 fighter jet was also involved and that the aerial encounter lasted "several minutes".

This comes just days after a report that a F-22 had almost shot down a Su-35 over the Euphrates River in the same area, which the Su-35 was protecting bombers engaged in anti-ISIS runs.

At one point, one of the Su-25s flew dangerously close to one of the F-22s, forcing the American pilot to "aggressively maneuver to avoid a midair collision", Pickart said. Their statements go on to claim that the F-22 was attempting to prevent the Su-25s from continuing their runs by "simulating" a dog fight.

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US officials have said that as the battlefield against Islamic State shrinks, they expect Russian and USA aircraft to be in closer proximity. However, he said, the coalition would defend itself or SDF fighters if they were threatened.

During and following the encounter, coalition leaders contacted Russian officers on a special hotline to try to calm the situation and avert a "strategic miscalculation", Pahon said. USA aircraft are to remain on the east side and Russian on the west side of the river unless advance notice is given.

US Air Force Central Command has indicated in the past that Russia regularly crosses these lines, which were established in an effort to avoid conflict between US-colaition forces and Russian forces.

Agreements to deconflict were reviewed in September after Russian targeted and wounded USA proxy forces near Deir al-Zour, another city on the river where Islamic State fighters have converged in recent months.

But the US Air Force categorically denies the incident, saying in a statement that deconfliction phone line transcripts show Russian Federation never called about the incident and that Coalition flight logs have no record of any US cross overs without informing Russian Federation first.

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