Video: Russian Fighter, U.S. Navy Spy Plane in "Unsafe" Intercept
The crew of a U.S. Navy EP-3 surveillance aircraft reported Monday that a Russian fighter made a close, "unsafe" high speed pass directly in front of their plane as they conducted a mission over the Black Sea.
According to the aircrew, a Russian Su-27 fighter jet approached and made two passes - the first, a high speed pass directly in front of the EP-3, and the second, a close approach on the plane's starboard side. At the end of the second pass, the Russian fighter turned on its afterburner and banked away, creating turbulence and vibration for the EP-3. Overall, the encounter lasted about 25 minutes.
"While the Russian military is within its right to exercise within international airspace, this interaction was irresponsible," U.S. 6th Fleet wrote in a statement. "Unsafe actions increase the risk of miscalculation and potential for midair collisions."
The Russian embassy in Washington responded that the fighter was "preventing a violation of Russian airspace and followed all necessary safety procedures."
In a separate incident in January, a Russian Su-27 fighter flew within about five feet of a U.S. EP-3, according to the Navy. After that incident, the U.S. State Department accused Russia of "flagrantly violating existing agreements and international law."
In May, a Russian Su-27 intercepted a U.S. Navy P-8 surveillance plane over the Baltic, approaching to within about 20 feet.