US Air Force Flight Drew Phallic Pattern Near Russian Naval Facility


  • A US military aircraft flew in a phallic pattern near the Syrian coast, flight data shows.
  • The flight was near several Russian military facilities, including an air base and a naval outpost.
  • It’s unclear if the stratotanker drew the symbol intentionally on its Tuesday flight.

A US Air Force refueler drew a phallic pattern in the sky near several Russian military facilities in Syria on Tuesday, according to data from air-traffic tracking site FlightRadar24.

The Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker, which is used to refuel military aircraft, set off from Chania International Airport on the Greek island of Crete around 2:15 p.m. UTC, the data shows.

After an hour’s journey of flying east and past the island nation of Cyprus, it spent two more hours flying in a pattern resembling a phallus, before breaking off and landing back in Chania at 6:45 p.m., per FlightRadar data.

The stratotanker’s flight was just off the Syrian coast, where several Russian military facilities are located. One is the sea port of Tartus, a naval facility established in the Soviet era that Russian media reported is used to repair and resupply ships.

Another is Khmeimim Air Base, a Syrian air base operated by Russia, where the country has tested advanced jet fighters such as the Su-57. The air base has been “instrumental in servicing Russian air traffic” in the Middle East and Africa, according to an analysis by Middle East Institute scholar Anton Mardasov.

US military pilots have encountered tense run-ins with Russian aircraft over the eastern Mediterranean before, such as when the Pentagon said in February that three US naval aircraft “experienced unprofessional intercepts by Russian aircraft.”

It’s unclear if the stratotanker’s flight pattern was intentionally made to resemble a phallus. The stratotanker also flew near Cyprus and Lebanon on Tuesday.

The US Air Force and a representative for US Air Force Central did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

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