For a fascinating insight to the workings of US military reconnaissance planes, it’s well worth checking out this CNN article and video. Flying out of Sicily, the large recon plane flew over the Black Sea, tracking Russian naval ships and subs along the coast of Russian occupied Crimea. Like most such missions, the US plane predictably attracted the attention of Russian military jets.
The video gives us good views from inside the plane, showing the mass of electronic hardware a screens which enable it to track multiple targets in the sea or air. We also get bird’s-eye views of occupied Crimea and Russian naval hardware. Since Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea, the Kremlin’s been sabre-rattling in the region. With a large military presence in Crimea, large-scale naval maneuvers in the Black Sea are now routine. Russia’s also conducting on-going harassment and imposing delays on International shipping wishing to visit Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea. The Azov Sea is accessed via the Black Sea. So these recon flights and International Navies sailing in the Black Sea, are a reminder to Putin that he doesn’t rule the Black Sea waves.