During an operation led by the international coalition against the Islamic State, two French army Rafale fighter jets were forced to react to an unprofessional maneuver by a Russian Su-35.
Aerial incident in the skies of Iraq
On July 6, 2023, over Iraqi territory, an aerial incident occurred during a coalition mission. A Russian Su-35 fighter plane “inappropriately and dangerously” approached the two French Rafales on a mission. The French pilots, surprised by this manoeuvre, were forced to take defensive action to avoid a potential collision. The unpredictable and unprofessional behavior of the Russian pilot threatened the safety of the coalition planes and provoked a strong reaction within the French military authorities and NATO.
The French Rafale pilots, faced with a threatening situation, were able to react effectively. Aware of the potential danger represented by the Su-35, they were able to quickly maneuver and take a safe distance from the Russian plane. While avoiding any escalation that could aggravate the situation, they have shown their mastery and ability to react quickly in a crisis situation.
The condemnation of NATO and the concerns of France
NATO was quick to react to this incident. The organization strongly condemned the attitude of the Russian pilot, which it described as “unprofessional and dangerous” for the safety of other planes. France, meanwhile, has expressed concern for the security of its air forces operating in Syria and Iraq. Paris has therefore called for better coordination and better communication between Russian forces and those of the coalition in order to avoid such situations in the future.
This incident occurs in an already tense context, where the Syrian and Iraqi airspaces are the scene of frequent interactions between different forces. He stresses the need for effective coordination and communication between the different parties to ensure everyone’s safety. This event is a reminder that, despite the common goal of fighting the Islamic State, tensions can quickly arise when the rules of engagement and good conduct are not respected. In this tense situation, the international coalition and Russia will have to work together to minimize the risk of future incidents.