In what looked like a dry run for World War 3, some of the deadliest Russian jets staged practice attacks on NATO warships earlier this week, as the mighty NATO ships, one American and one Turkish, attempted to carry out naval maneuvers in the Black Sea, according to a report in the Russian media Wednesday.
“These ships’ crews are doubtlessly conducting exercises in repelling air attacks from our planes, which gives our pilots the opportunity to gain experience in maneuvering and conducting aerial reconnaissance both in the range of anti-air systems and outside their range,” a statement out of Russia’s Sevastopol naval base said, as quoted by the Sputnik News service.
The American ship USS Vicksburg, a powerful guided-missile cruiser, is the flagship of the NATO naval force in the region. The Vicksburg was on a joint training mission with the Turkish TCG Turgutreis when the Russian jets staged their “attacks,” probing the American and NATO air defense systems.
The Russian jets included the highly advanced Sukhoi Su-30 fighter, the same model as the fighter plane pictured above, as well as Russian Su-24 attack bomber planes.
The deadly Su-30 was first manufactured by the Soviet Union in 1980, but has been upgraded repeatedly in the decades since. The fighter jet is also deployed by numerous other nations, and is the lead fighter in India’s Air Force.
The intimidating fighter jet can fly at high altitude speeds of more than 1,400 miles per hour, and a still-supersonic 800 mph when flying closer to the ground.
Russia’s envoy to NATO, Aleksandr Grushko, has warned that his country would employ “necessary countermeasures” against NATO if the alliance continued to strengthen its forces in the Black Sea. The Su-30 and Su-24 simulated attack missions this week appear to be making good on that threat.
“Our pilots are first of all, tracing the headings of the NATO ships and monitoring the assignments they are performing during their sea voyage,” the statement out of Sevastopol said.
A squadron of seven Russian jets, including three Su-30 jets and four Su-24 attack planes flew over the site of the joint U.S.-Turkish NATO exercises on Wednesday, in what the Russians said was a chance for their pilots to gain experience in situations similar to what combat would be like — if World War 3 were actually to break out between Russia and the West.
[Image: Sergey Krivchikov/Wikimedia Commons]