The Kaliningrad is one of Russia’s highest militarized zones, located on the Baltic coast between Poland and Lithuania.

According to an article in the militarywatch magazine: “Kaliningrad Su-27SM3 Flankers: The Russian Fighter Unit NATO Hates the Most,” the author gave an interesting perspective on this particular Russian territory.

Accordingly, the Kaliningrad acts as a military base, allowing Russia’s Iskander tactical ballistic missiles and long-range air defense systems such as the S-400 to penetrate deeper into Europe. Artillery and tank regiments have been deployed there since December 2020.

The most important force deployed in Kaliningrad, however, is the Russian Air Force’s most advanced fleet of Su-27 heavy fighters. This has been the force that has caused NATO considerable trouble for many years.


The Su-27 Flanker was first put into service with the Soviet Air Force in 1985. After the Americans had access to several of these aircraft after the Cold War, American experts have rated this fighter even outperformed the US Air Force’s F-15 main fighter in a number of features.

For many years the Su-27 remained the most widely used fighter jet in the Russian military, with more than 250 in service. More than 150 are still in service to date.

Exact information about the Su-27 force in Kaliningrad remains secret. Part of the deployed Su-27 squadron is believed to be of the Su-27SM3 variant, the most powerful Su-27 variant ever developed. There are only about 20 Su-27SM3 aircraft in service with the entire Russian Air Force.

These aircraft were produced shortly before the Su-27 production line was permanently shut down, to switch to the production of the Su-35 successor, which also used the Irbis-E radar like the Su-27.

Several similar incidents happened in later years. On June 9, 2017, when an American B-1B, B-2 and B-52H heavy bomber drills took place in the Baltic Sea, a Su-27 appeared and tracking.

The following month, a US Air Force RC-135 surveillance plane, which was monitoring electronic signals in Kaliningrad, was intercepted by a Su-27 unit consisting of three Su-27SM3s. The US jet made a quick left turn into Swedish airspace.


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