June 2022

Photo: author’s archive

Su-27 “blue 23” already parked on the apron of the Baza 95 Aeriana base in Bacau after its arrival on February 24,

2022. The scramble aircraft, probably from the 39. BrTA, located at the peace time base Ozerne at Zhytomyr, is fully

armed with air-to-air guided missiles. There are three R-27R middle range missiles with semi-active radar guidance

attached on the fuselage and left inner wing hardpoint, a single middle range R-27T missile with infra-red guidance is

attached to the left inner hardpoint and four short range R-73 infra-red guided missiles can be seen on the four inner


Su-27 “blue 23” lacking the anti-aircraft missiles is taxiing to the takeoff from the Baza 95 Aeriana base in Bacau

on March 1, 2022 to return back to Ukraine where the defense against the Russian invasion was going for six days


Photo: author’s archive via Dan Stefan Plane Spotters Bacau

Interesting episode of the morning Russian

attack and at the same time the confirmation

that Ukrainian Air Force did not at all give up

on their own country's defense was a surprising landing of Su-27 “blue 23” in Romanian

Bacau at the military base Baza 95 Aeriana.

A pair of Romanian pilots in F-16AM from the

system QRA NATINAMDS were dispatched

before 7 am for a morning “Alpha scramble”

and after intercepting an unknown target

were very surprised seeing “up to the teeth

armed Sukhoi” carrying the full complement

of 4xR-73 short range missiles, 3xR-27R and

1xR-27T medium range missiles. The Ukrainian pilot landed at Bacau at 7:05 am and as

a reason for flying over to Romania stated

the complete loss of the communication with

the home base.It seems that Su-27 “blue 23”

could have belonged to 39. BrTA based on

Ozerne near Zhytomyr (note nr.1). Question

is if it really took off from this airport or during the night headed to one of the detached

bases. Based on its ordnance configurations

it was a scramble aircraft, but we can only

speculate about its flight profile after the take

off in Ukraine. It is probable that the pilot was

dispatched against the identified targets, but

the question is how the scramble system

could have worked including guiding their

own fighters from the ground when it has

been under attack from the early hours. The

morning Russian attack on Ozerne (probably with the cruise missiles) caused a hit on

at least one, photographically documented,

Su-27 right on the apron.

Tactics of the Ukrainian fighters during these

days relied on reaching the Russian airplanesat very low level flight to first avoid as long

as possible the attention of the attackers and

second to be able to use their R-27T missiles

with the passive infra-red guided warhead

which was capable of guiding this anti-aircraft rocket without the aid of its own aircraft

airborne radar and thus avoid its identification by the enemy (another R-27T feature is

the possibility of the deployment under the

strong electronic jamming while it’s more

than probable that the attacking Russian

aircraft were protected for REB either in the

form of S-24MR or Su-35S or other platforms

capable of performing this duty).

The Ukrainian air force seems to have less

of these anti-aircraft missiles in comparison

to R-27R which is semi-active and has to be

guided during the whole flight by the airborne

locator which lowered the chances of the defenders and increase the risk to be revealed,

attacked and shot down by the Russian fighters who mostly had numerical advantage

and were equipped with the more modern

medium range anti-aircraft missiles R-77

with the active guidance by its own head (so

called “fire and forget”). Su-27 “blue23” ordnance pattern indicates this since it carried

three semi-active guided missiles R-27R and

only single infra-red guided R-27T.

In any case the Ukrainian pilot must have

Photo: author’s archive

The scramble flight with no return

The last “goodbye” and Su-27 “blue 23” is headed back home.

known that the return to the airport where he

had taken off was not possible regardless of

the fact he stated for the diversion (total loss

of communication) was true or not. Considering the unused rockets, it also seems that

he did not engage in the combat with VKS RF

aircraft and focused on saving the valuable

Su-27 in the spirit of “we can fight another

day” in which he succeeded.

The Romanians, who from the beginning of

the conflict took the Ukrainian side, same as

the other NATO countries, on March 1 allowed

the return of the “demilitarized” Su-27 back

to Ukraine. Sukhoi lacking the anti-aircraft

guided missiles took off from the Baza 95 Aeriana in Bacau escorted by a pair of Mig-21MF

Lancer C numbers 6840 and 5834 from

Escadrila 711 Aviatie Lupta/Baza 71 Aeriana

“General Emanoil Ionescu” in Campia Turziii

which escorted the Ukrainian Su-27 to Romanian-Ukrainian border. It remains unclear

if the flyover was piloted by the same pilot

who had landed the Sukhoi at Bacau.

INFO Eduard