The Russian Air Force intercepted a flight group of three military aircraft from the French Air Force over the Black Sea on February 17, 2021.
“Two Su-27 fighters from the Southern military district took off on alert to identify ‘aerial targets’ and prevent a violation of the Russian state border,” announced the Russian Defense Ministry. “The Russian fighter crews identified the air targets as being a group of French Air Force planes, made up of a KC-135 tanker and two Mirage 2000 tactical planes.” The three aircraft did not enter the airspace of the Russian Federation.
The Russian Defense Ministry released a video of the interception in which one of the Mirage 2000D can be seen sporting an Airborne Electronic Reconnaissance System (ASTAC) pod. The system can “intercept and analyze tactical and technical data on RF [Radio frequency ‒ ed. note] emissions radiated by land-based radars and weapon systems,” as described by its manufacturer Thales.
On August 14, 2020, a Breguet Atlantique 2 maritime patrol aircraft of the French Navy returning from the Romanian Navy Day celebrations was intercepted over the Black Sea by Russian fighter jets. It was initially misidentified as a Breguet BR-1150 Atlantic of the Italian Air Force, though the country has not operated the aircraft since 2017.