Russian jet intercepts US Navy spy plane over Black Sea

Cheryl Sanders
November 8, 2018

Two unsafe passes by a Russian fighter jet put a USA military aircraft at risk during flight operations over the Black Sea, Navy officials said Monday.

This interaction was risky because the Su-27 performed a high-speed flight right in front of the plane, putting the pilots and the crew in jeopardy, "the message said".

In November 2017, a Russian fighter crossed within 50 feet of a US surveillance aircraft flying over the Black Sea, blasting its afterburners and forcing the American plane into turbulence that caused it to tilt into a 15-degree roll.

In January, a Russian fighter flew dangerously close to a US reconnaissance flight over the Black Sea. Near the city of Sevastopol, seat of the Russian fleet of the Black Sea, the aircraft approached 35 kilometers to the coast.

The US Navy also claimed the aircraft had been flying within global law and did not provoke the Russian reaction. The Ministry of Defense of this nation called on several occasions the Pentagon to abstain from this practice, to which the North American side responded with a refusal to suspend such flights. "The duration of the intercept was about 25 minutes", - told in the U.S. Navy. The crew of the EP-3 reported turbulence after the first interaction and vibration after the second.

United States officials said Russia's military could exercise within worldwide airspace, but the pilot's behaviour was wrong.

The U.S. Navy has posted a video showing one of its aircraft being intercepted by a Russian jet in global airspace over the Black Sea. The intercepting SU-27 made an additional pass, closing with the EP-3 and applying its afterburner while conducting a banking turn away. "Unsafe acts increase the risk of miscalculation and potential collisions in the air".

In a press briefing following the incident, Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said that there was "just absolutely no reason for this type of behavior".

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