Air Policing jets on 24 MAR in international airspace above the Baltic Sea near LV border identified RU AF 2x Su-27.— NBS (@Latvijas_armija) March 24, 2015
Russian air force planes of various types fly the corridor of neutral international airspace between the Kaliningrad naval base and St.Petersburg regularly, however almost never use their transponders to identify themselves to civilian air traffic, thus prompting the sometimes daily NATO scrambling responses to identify and escort them along Latvian airspace over the Baltic Sea.
Air Policing jets on 24 MAR in international airspace above the Baltic Sea near LV border identified RU AF 2x Tu-22M, and 2x Su-27.— NBS (@Latvijas_armija) March 24, 2015
The Federation of American Scientists characterizes the Tupolev, or in NATO parlance 'Backfire' bomber as "a long-range aircraft capable of performing nuclear strike, conventional attack, antiship, and reconnaissance missions. Its low-level penetration features make it a much more survivable system than its predecessors. Carrying either bombs or AS-4/KITCHEN air-to-surface missiles, it is a versatile strike aircraft, believed to be intended for theater attack in Europe and Asia but also potentially capable of intercontinental missions against the United States. The BACKFIRE can be equipped with probes to permit inflight refueling, which would further increase its range and flexibility."