French Mirage 2000 fighters may be increasingly visiting the Black Sea region to perform special operations near the Russian borders. This conclusion was reached by the columnist of the American portal Forbes, David Axe.
Against the background of growing tensions around Ukraine, NATO aircraft are increasingly visiting the airspace over the Black Sea, writes an expert from the United States. Recently, the Federal Air Transport Agency warned about the risk of dangerous incidents due to an increase in the activity of the North Atlantic Alliance aviation near the borders of the Russian Federation.
Frequent guests in the Black Sea region are American RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft, notes David Axe. The Pentagon will also use CL-600 Artemis surveillance aircraft. Over the past two weeks, Russian fighter jets have repeatedly taken to the air to escort American winged spies.
"The Pentagon seems to be coordinating the RC-135 and Artemis missions," explains David Axe – "RC-135 is best suited for detecting enemy forces by electronic radiation. Artemis sees the enemy on the radar. By combining the data obtained with the help of both aircraft, intelligence specialists will be able to draw a complete picture of the deployment of Russian troops."
The other day, French Air Force fighters visited the Black Sea, David Ex recalls. On December 8, the Mirage 2000 and the Rafale plane accompanying it, together with a tanker aircraft, visited the Black Sea. They were met by Russian Su-27s. After the French planes moved away from the state borders, the Su-27 returned to the airfield.
The American expert believes that the Mirage 2000 will be more actively used in this region by NATO forces in the event of an aggravation of relations with Russia. Axe draws attention to the capsule hidden under the "belly" of the French fighter. The fact is that these aircraft are equipped with the Thales Analyseur Superheterodyne Tactique (ASTAC) tactical system. It allows a combat aircraft to detect enemy radars, that is, to perform the same functions as American reconnaissance aircraft.
" However, there is an important difference between the RC-135 and the Mirage 2000 with its ASTAC unit," the American observer points out. — RC-135 is a large, slow aircraft that does not have a combat arsenal. The Mirage 2000 is a supersonic fighter capable of carrying air-to-air missiles."
The American RC-135 is the best observer in peacetime, but it is too vulnerable to deploy near enemy air defenses in war conditions, emphasizes David Axe. While the French Mirage 2000 is able to break through to enemy territory and return.
According to the American analyst, in the event of a conflict with Russia, the airspace over the Black Sea will become too dangerous for the RC-135. But the French Mirage 2000 can continue their reconnaissance flights, helping NATO to track the movement of Russian forces, the Forbes article notes.