Video: Russian Fighter Crosses Path of U.S. Navy Patrol Plane
The U.S. Navy has released new footage of the recent encounter between an EP-3 Aries II and a Russian Su-27 fighter jet in international airspace over the Black Sea.
"This interaction was determined to be unsafe due to the Su-27 closing to within five feet and crossing directly through the EP-3's flight path, causing the EP-3 to fly through the Su-27's jet wash," the Navy said in a statement. "The duration of the intercept lasted two hours and 40 minutes."
The Navy asserted that both the U.S. and Russian militaries are within their rights to operate in international airspace, but it called on Russian forces to adhere to safety standards laid out in the Agreement for the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas, which are intended to reduce the danger of midair collisions and military miscalculations. The U.S. State Department went further, alleging that Russia "was flagrantly violating existing agreements and international law." The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that an Su-27 fighter "intercepted a U.S. EP-3E Aries II electronic warfare and reconnaissance aircraft," and that "all security precautions" were followed during the interaction. The ministry said that "all security precautions" had been observed during the encounter.
The close approach was the second in as many months. On November 25, an Su-30 allegedly passed in front of a P-8A Poseidon at a distance of 50 feet and turned on its afterburners. This created "violent turbulence" and put the Poseidon into a 15-degree roll, said Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Cl. Michelle Baldanza.
Following the November incident, a Russian official press service asserted that the Su-30 scrambled to intercept an air target "approaching the state border at high speed." Without reference to the allegedly unsafe interaction, the press service said that the fighter approached the P-8A, which then changed course away from Russian airspace.