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Russian jet gets within 5 feet of US aircraft then engages for 2 hours, 40 minutes

A Russian Air Force Su-27 Flanker aircraft, Nov. 24th, 2010. (Mike Humphreys/U.S. Army)
January 29, 2018

A Russian jet flew within five feet of a U.S. Navy plane during an unsafe intercept over the Baltic Sea on Monday, according to a Naval Forces Europe news release.

Naval Forces Europe (Twitter)

A Russian Su-27 came within five feet of a U.S. EP-3 Aries aircraft over international airspace, forcing an early end to their mission, CNN reported, citing three defense officials.

“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,” according to Naval Forces Europe.

The intercept lasted two hours and 40 minutes.

According to the news release, the U.S. Navy aircraft was operating in accordance with international law.

Russian and American military aircraft often conduct intercepts of aircraft over international airspace.

In December, a pair of U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors intercepted and fired warning flares at two Russian Su-25 jets, after the Russian jets flew east of the de-confliction line that separates Russian- and U.S.-led coalition operating space over Syria.

The F-22s fired warning flares after the Russian aircraft crossed over the de-confliction line on multiple occasions, nearly causing a mid-air collision. The U.S. used a pre-established de-confliction hotline to diffuse the aircraft intercept.

In November, a Russian Su-30 fighter jet buzzed and provoked a U.S. Navy aircraft while it was flying routinely over the Black Sea.

The Russian jet crossed 50 feet in front of the Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft while engaging its afterburners, which forced the P-8 to enter its jet wash and caused “violent turbulence.”

Earlier this month, the United States Air Force released footage of it intercepting Russian aircraft during NATO’s Baltic air policing mission.

The video footage of two intercepts from Nov. 23 and on Dec. 13, 2017, was taken from cameras inside the cockpits of F-15s from the 493rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, belonging to the 48th Fighter Wing of RAF Lakenheath, in the United Kingdom.

The video shows two Russian Navy Su-30 Flankers flying in the Baltics before they’re intercepted by American F-15s because they did not broadcast the proper codes required by air traffic control and had no flight plan on file.