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Japanese social media has been buzz after arrival of Russian Su-30MKI fighter jets that came along with Indian Air Force Delegation for joint air force exercise Veer Guardian that will see Su-30MKI having dog fight against American F-15J and F-2 fighter jets.

Russian fighter jets flying over Japanese skies are a rare sight, as the last time a Russian jet landed in the country was 47 years ago, causing quite a diplomatic row and a similar level of frenzy among the local Japanese people.

On September 6, 1976, Soviet Lt. Viktor Belenko successfully defected to the West by flying his Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 Foxbat jet fighter across the Sea of Japan to Hakodate, Japan. The MiG-25 was critical to Soviet air defence because it was the only aircraft capable of intercepting the Lockheed SR-71A strategic reconnaissance plane. Western countries such as the United States and Japan were eager to learn more about the plane.

The arrival of a Russian-made Sukhoi-30MKI in Japan after nearly 50 years brought back many memories for those who witnessed the defection. Many Japanese aviation enthusiasts were impressed by the mighty jet, and some adored the Beast looks that the Sukhoi-30MKI carries and still maintains.

When India and Japan agreed to conduct a joint air combat exercise, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force requested that Sukhoi-30MKI aircraft be send to the country so that the JASDF could gain valuable experience with the aircraft it might face in the event of a war with China, which uses the inferior MKM variant.

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