Two American F22 Raptors intercepted two Russian Su-25s fighter jets over Syria’s very congested airspace on Wednesday along the Euphrates River, according to a report from Airforce Times. Warning flares were fired by the US F22s after the Russian jets crossed a “red line”, i.e. an agreed upon deconfliction line which runs parallel to the Euphrates.
Here’s a quote from a spokesman for U.S. Air Forces Central Command,Lt. Col. Damien Pickart:
“On December 13, two Russian Su-25s flew into coordinated Coalition airspace on the east side of the Euphrates River near Abu Kamal, Syria, and were promptly intercepted by two F-22A Raptors providing air cover for partner ground forces conducting operations to defeat ISIS. At one point, one Su-25 flew close enough to an F-22A that it had to aggressively maneuver to avoid a midair collision. “During the incident, a Russian Su-35 also flew across the river and was shadowed closely by one of the F-22As.”
However, the official downplayed the incident by saying:
“Two F-22 went too close to two Russian jets so we had to use the de-confliction channels. This is not something extraordinary… It happens sometimes several times a day.”
The “showdown” lasted for almost 40 minutes and the American F22 Raptors fired chaff and warning flares while conducting maneuvers, thus trying to persuade the 2 Russian fighter jets to desert the deconflicted airspace. It’s interesting to note a report via Russian Defense Ministry on Saturday which describes another similar incident over Syria, this time involving a single F22 Raptor which, let me quote:
“actively prevented the Russian pair of Su-25 attack aircraft from carrying out a combat mission to destroy the Daesh stronghold in the suburbs of the city of Mayadin in the airspace over the western bank of the Euphrates River on November 23”
The Su-25 are ground attack aircraft. They were probably sent to attack ISIS positions on the ground, so you do the math. It’s also very interesting how the US can restrict airspace over other countries, against their will obviously.