The Ukrainian Su-27 that landed at Bacau a few days ago with a full load of air-to-air missiles, has returned home (completely unarmed).
On Feb. 24, 2022, during the opening phases of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a Ukrainian Air Force Su-27 Flanker was intercepted by two Romanian Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) under NATO command after it intruded into the Romanian airspace at 06.15LT. The Flanker, fully loaded with six R-27 (AA-10 ALAMO) medium/extended-range Air-to-Air Missiles and four IR-guided R-73 (AA-11 ARCHER) AAMs, was escorted to the RoAF 95th Air Base in the northeastern Romanian city of Bacău, where it landed at 07.05LT.
According to the Romanian Air Force, After landing, the Ukrainian military pilot was made at the disposal of the Romanian authorities. According to some reports, the aircraft had flown towards Romania after it lost communication with its homebase, under heavy attack by Russian forces.
A video of the aircraft landing in Romania circulated online shortly after the Romanian Air Force made the event public.
The Flanker, bort number 23 Blue, eventually returned home on Mar. 1. Stripped off its load of missiles “in accordance with the national and international legislation”, the Su-27 took off from Bacau along with two RoAF MiG-21 LanceR jets that escorted the Ukrainian fighter to the border of the Romanian airspace.
The fighter jet rocked its wings on take off to salute the bystanders.
3/ Video: Ukraine Air Force Su-27 wing salute during take-off from Bacău (Romania).
🎥: championmotor (Reddit) pic.twitter.com/tpH3FOPvaD
— BoardingPass (@BoardingPassRO) March 1, 2022
It’s not clear where the aircraft headed, completely unarmed, after it entered the Ukrainian airspace, a contested airspace where, although not achieving air superiority, Russian aircraft and SAMs (Surface to Air Missiles), are operating with some significant result. For sure, its destination must have been one of the airports that are still safe, although we can’t completely rule out it recovered on a forward, dispersed highway landing area, like the one Ukrainian Flankers have trained to use in the recent past: you will probably remember the incident when Ukrainian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 combat aircraft narrowly avoided a more serious accident when it landed short and collided with a traffic sign during an expedient tactical airstrip training exercise on Aug. 27, 2020.
The Sukhoi Su-27 Ukrainian Air Force which landed in Romania on February 24th has left Bacau today, March 1st, flying back to Ukraine. It was escorted by two Romanian Air Force MiG-21s until leaving the country’s airspace. Photos: Dan Stefan, Plane Spotters Bacau. @TheAviationist pic.twitter.com/LDtgqjlxRb
— Aeronews (@AeronewsGlobal) March 1, 2022