The US Navy anti-submarine patrol aircraft Poseidon P-8A conducted a surveillance flight near the coast of Syria, where the Russian Aerospace Forces' Hmeymin airbase and the Russian Navy base in Tartus are located, according to the IntelSky flight tracker.
The plane with the number 168848 departed from the Sigonella airbase in Sicily on Friday and flew for more than three hours over the international waters of the Eastern Mediterranean, along the Syrian coast.
The Pentagon has not commented on the matter, but US reconnaissance planes have repeatedly carried out flights over Hmeymin and Tartus bases in the past.
🇺🇸United States Navy— 360°Radar (@wipljw) 7 декабря 2018 г.
Boeing P-8A Poseidon
The Friday flight comes after Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin said on October 26 that the Hmeymim airbase had been subject to a massive drone attack, with unmanned aerial vehicles having been piloted by a US Poseidon 8 surveillance aircraft.
"The Poseidon 8, equipped with modern technology, was in manual control [over the drones]," Fomin said.
He added that when the drones encountered the radio-electronic barrier protecting the Russian equipment, they were ordered to fly a specific distance away from it.
The anti-aircraft defence of Hmeymim Airbase is provided for by advanced S-400 systems, while S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, as well as the cruise missile-equipped Bastion coastal missile systems cover the Tartus base.