While an Air Force crewman during the Vietnam War, I had the opportunity to have our transport plane trailed by Russians. They would get very close, wave to us, or give us the one finger salute and roar off. I suspect this has gone on since the militaries of the world got airplanes.
Thought it was hysterical that they sent the old prop jobs. Whirl I think you right. Someone needed to be punished for something. Besides, does anyone think their top line pilots were flying these birds?